JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

A loss, but Cheika can draw positives from final rehearsal


Israel Folau tackled in play. Click for more photos

Waratahs vs the Crusaders

HSBC NSW Waratahs vs the Crusaders trial match at Allianz Stadium on February 14, 2013. Photo: Brendan Esposito

IT IS a brave coach who makes a penalty kick a punishable offence but for Michael Cheika on Thursday night the gamble very nearly paid off.

The Waratahs broke a 60-minute drought to score two tries and go within three points of beating an All Blacks-stacked Crusaders outfit at Allianz Stadium, and all without so much as looking at the goal posts.

It took a while and then some - including a 13-point first-half deficit - for the Waratahs' attack to rid itself of the fumbles, but their persistence and Cheika's strategy were rewarded, even when the scoreline told of a 16-14 loss.

Lopeti Timani spiralled over for the home side's first try after the third-quarter siren and prop Paddy Ryan put the ball down from a maul less than 10 minutes later to give the Waratahs a one-point lead.

For most of the match NSW were on the receiving end of some sort of education from their classy trans-Tasman rivals. The Crusaders defended resolutely and took the points on offer. A penalty goal to five-eighth Dan Carter put them on the board first, a converted try to prop Paea Fa'anunu made it 10-0 and Tom Taylor slotted a second penalty to make it 13-0 while the Waratahs struggled to hold on to the ball.

There were early periods inside the Crusaders' 22 but a spookily familiar inability to convert territory into points meant the opportunities went begging.

It was only when the passes stopped bouncing and the players found their groove that the effort was rewarded.

There was also Israel Folau. He was the one who dragged the Waratahs deep into the Crusaders' 22 in that final 30 minutes when they finally broke through.

He was ably assisted by halfback Brendan McKibbin, who looked to be playing his way past teammate Grayson Hart and into the starting No. 9 jersey, and forwards Wycliff Palu and Tatafu Polota-Nau. There was also direct work from centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and a number of runs down the sideline from young winger Tom Kingston before and after he was taken from the field with blood spilling from his head.

Rookie five-eighth Ben Volavola, just a four-month resident at Moore Park after being plucked from relative obscurity at Southern Districts, will be infinitely improved for the run against such a slick opposition. He was not intimidated by the Super Rugby stage and will soon finesse the finer points. If he can't, there will be Berrick Barnes and Bernard Foley to fill the void.

It was the toughest of the Waratahs' three trials but also, undoubtedly, the most valuable. Cheika was always going to take the long-term view - give the squad experience hunting for tries and they'll learn to find them. The Reds and the cauldron of Suncorp await.

Related Coverage

HSBC NSW Waratahs vs the Crusaders trial match at Allianz Stadium tonight. Waratahs vs the Crusaders

HSBC NSW Waratahs vs the Crusaders trial match at Allianz Stadium on February 14, 2013.

Who's hot this season? The skippers break it down

On the eve of the Super Rugby season, Georgina Robinson spoke to the captains of the Australian teams.

McMeniman starts road back to Wallabies

Fearless Western Force forward Hugh McMeniman will take his first step toward a Wallaby recall when he returns to Super Rugby against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.

Grade clubs living near the breadline

SOME Super Rugby players have asked struggling Sydney clubs for payments to secure their services in Shute Shield games, a review into premier rugby has found.

Blood clots put Brumbies star out for season

A potential life-threatening condition has put Ita Vaea's career on hold on the eve of the Super Rugby season.

Kurtley Beale. Fixtures: Round 1 results, round two matches

Teams, odds, stats, officials, TV times and expert tips.

Rugby Heaven tipping

Expert tips for round one of Super Rugby.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers