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Waratahs outrun Hurricanes

Sat, 03 May 2014 11:31
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The Waratahs closed the gap on the Brumbies at the top of the Australian conference and enhanced their play-off prospects.

Outscoring the Hurricanes by five tries to three in a thrilling Super Rugby Round 12 match in Sydney on Saturday, the Waratahs moved to within one point of the Brumbies and into the top six on the global standings.

The Waratahs' scrum, which have been wobbly at best all season, were under pressure from the outset.

It also didn't help that their line-outs were rickety and some scrum feeds cost them free-kicks - all basic errors that should not be made at this level.

Dominating the set pieces allowed the Hurricanes to control territory, as they spent 60 percent of the first half. However, the Waratahs managed some parity when they had better control of possession after the break.

What the Waratahs did do well, was to find holes in a Hurricanes defence that became staggered at times.

The Waratahs got off to the perfect start in a wet and cold Sydney - Adam Ashley-Cooper producing a monster hand-off on Jack Lam to break the line, before off-loading to Rob Horne, who raced Bernard Foley's conversion made it 7-0 after just two minutes.

The Hurricanes worked hard to get into the game and just past the 10-minute mark prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen busted a few weak tackles to charge over from close range. Beauden Barrett added the extras to level it up at 7-all.

When Nick Phipps went offside at a scrum just past the 20-minute mark, Barrett kicked the penalty to give the Hurricanes the lead for the first time - 10-7.

And it went from bad to worse, Barrett getting his team's second try - the finish as comical as the build-up was effective. Andre Taylor, from the restart, countered and going down the right the Canes got to within metres, where the Tahs won a turnover, only for some silly inter-passing inside their own in-goal area resulting in a spilled ball that Barrett collected to score. The conversion made it 17-7.

They completed the 17-point blitz, Dane Coles bust through and Julian Savea finishing off the move. Barrett's conversion made it 24-7 in no time at all.

The Waratahs then produced a two-try blitz of their own.

First Dave Dennis finished off a move after the forwards worked really hard, before Nick Phibbs started a move that was finished by Bernard Foley - but not before the TMO had a few good looks.

Foley, who kicked both conversions, also added a penalty in the 38th minute as the teams went into the break with the score at 24-all.

As was to be expected, the teams because a touch more cautious after the break, although a few line-outs (from kickable penalties) and cross-field kicks suggested the home side was more adventurous.

The Waratahs broke the second-half silence, when a scrum became a few charges and Matt Carraro crashing over from close range for his first Super Rugby try - securing the home team a bonus point for four tries. Foley's conversion made it 31-24.

Barrett pulled six points back - with penalties in the 57th and 63rd minutes - to make it a one-point game (30-31).

The Waratahs continued to run hard the Hurricanes defence, with Phibbs again involved in breaching the defence before Stephen Hoiles finished off a great move. The conversion was off the upright, leaving the game delicately poised with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.

Hot-headed Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara paid the price for questioning the referee, Foley kicking the penalty to give his team a nine-point lead (39-30) with five minutes remaining.

The Hurricanes were now chasing a losing bonus point and perhaps also a four-try bonus point. But the energy of the Waratahs kept them out and sent them packing empty handed - the home team winning 39-30.

Man of the match: Andre Taylor, on the counter, Conrad Smith as the brains, Julian Savea's finishing and Beauden Barrett's direction were all positives for the Hurricanes. Hooker Dane Coles, despite struggling with a calf strain, showed why he is so highly rated by the Al Black selectors - while Jack Lam and Victor Vito were also productive. Jacques Potgieter, despite leaving the field with an injury, showed he adds as much value at lock as he does as a loose forward and his replacement Will Skelton was even better value. Adam Ashley-Cooper produced some impressive line-breaks and Bernard Foley was a calm influence at flyhalf. Waratahs flank Michael Hooper was again an all-action figure, but it was his work on defence - including a couple of try-saving tackles - is what  won him our award.

The scorers:

For the Waratahs:
Tries:
Horne, Dennis, Foley, Carraro, Hoiles
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2

For the Hurricanes:
Tries:
Toomaga-Allen, Barrett, Savea
Cons: Barrett 3
Pens: Barrett 3

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Alofa Alofa.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia) , Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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