Tahs fight back to sink Blues

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 06:57
Large bernard foley tackled630 Large drew mitchell pass630 Large bernardfoleywaratahstry

The Waratahs fought back well to clinch a tense 30-27 victory over the Blues with the last kick of the match in Sydney on Sunday.

The Waratahs fought back well to clinch a tense 30-27 victory over the Blues with the last kick of the match in Sydney on Sunday.

It was only the battling Waratahs' second win of the season, while the Blues fell to 2-2 this campaign.

The Blues, coached by John Kirwan, looked headed for a comfortable victory after a three-try first half against the disorganised Waratahs.

But following a half-time team talk by coach Michael Cheika, the Waratahs roared back with two tries to set up the tense finish.

Flyhalf Bernard Foley took over the goalkicking duties after scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin was forced off with a shoulder injury 30 minutes in and kicked two conversions and two penalties from his four attempts along with a 64th minute try that levelled the scores.

"We made it hard on ourselves in the first half. We started strong and played some good rugby but let them back into the game through knocking off and not working hard enough," said Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis.

"The second half was pleasing. They're a good side and to get that win means a lot for our group and helps us going forward."

Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell put the Waratahs in front in the seventh minute after leadup work from McKibbin and former rugby league international Israel Folau.

But the Blues scored the next three tries through hooker James Parsons, pouncing on a Waratahs line-out win; flyhalf Chris Noakes; and fullback Charles Piutau off a dreadful handling error by replacement scrumhalf Matt Lucas.

Noakes kicked Auckland to a commanding 14-point lead at the break, which was the biggest half-time deficit the Waratahs had conceded in six years.

But the Waratahs turned around the match, with Folau scoring off a forward-looking Lucas pass and Foley plunging over to level the scores.

Folau butchered a try four minutes from time and Foley missed a drop goal attempt, before Blues lock Culum Retallick was penalised for offside and presented Foley with his match-winning penalty attempt from 36 metres out.

"Individually we made too many mistakes and we couldn't apply the pressure over the distance," Blues skipper Ali Williams said.

"Frustrating: it is what is when you get to Sydney, though, it's a hard battle."

The Waratahs will host Western Force in an Australian derby next Sunday, while the Blues have a New Zealand derby with the Chiefs in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.

The scorers:

For the Waratahs:
Mitchell, Folau, Foley
Cons: McKibbin, Foley 2
Pens: McKibbin, Foley 2

For the Blues:
Tries: Parsons, Noakes, Piutau
Cons: Noakes 3
Pens: Noakes 2

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Tom Kingston.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26