Rugby Union

NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds: Five things we learned

Israel Folau is worth every cent he gets paid

The Waratahs' game plan of getting the ball to Israel Folau as often as possible is no secret, but the disdain with which he treats the defensive line is a weapon NSW need to utilise as often as possible. He scored twice in the first half and in doing so came within one try of Lote Tuqiri's NSW try-scoring record. It is remarkable to think Folau, in just his fourth season in the sky blue, is close to eclipsing Tuqiri's mark of 29 tries.

Folau wasn't given nearly as much space in the second half and although he doesn't touch the ball as often as he might have done back in his NRL days, his bang for buck when he does is something the Waratahs cannot take for granted.

NSW need Bernard Foley if they are to have a successful year

The familiarity of Bernard Foley at five-eighth was unmistakable for the 70-odd minutes he was on the field. His direct running, as opposed to the across-field style of Beale, who has filled in at No.10 for the season, was a major positive.

Foley's first touch was a line break and he played a hand in NSW's second try after the half-time siren.

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During the week Foley spoke about why an expansive and exciting brand of rugby might need to take a back seat to astute game management. He put those words into action on a slippery Sunday afternoon by opting to kick at times instead of running the ball. 

The Reds are too reliant on their scrum

Rob Simmons summed it up perfectly minutes after walking off Suncorp Stadium.

"There's more to rugby than scrums."

Yes, the Reds put NSW under extreme pressure early in the contest and showed their confidence by continuing to pack scrums rather than take the three points on offer, but they run the risk of becoming one-trick ponies.

Their ball handling was below par, even in wet conditions, and after so many chances in the last 20 minutes of play, the fact they could not capitalise on them suggests they have a problem that needs fixing. 

Waratahs need consistency in the scrum

Queensland were completely dominant in the first ten minutes at the scrum – they were awarded six penalties in the first 15 minutes – and it looked like being one of those afternoons. But as the game progressed, the Waratahs pack improved significantly and weren't the walkovers of previous weeks. 

Sunday's game showed they do have potential and they need to show teams why it isn't their Achilles heel, otherwise they risk being targeted from now on. 

The Reds can't stay with NSW but the passion is still there

"It was a real State of Origin grind," said Bernard Foley after his comeback game, but statistics show Queensland are still the Waratahs' bunnies. 

NSW have taken the chocolates in the last six games and the Reds are now winless in their first five games of the season - the first time since 1997. 

However, there was no shortage of argy-bargy, with youngsters Jed Holloway and Hugh Roach showing bulk aggression against an equally fired up Reds outfit. 

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