Tahs claim Aussie derby snore fest
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The boot of Reece Robinson proved to be the difference in the Waratahs' 19-13 victory over the Force as handling errors and a high penalty count led to a stop-start affair.
It was not a scintillating match. In fact it was drab and long-drawn out. The went and slippery field may have had a lotto do with it as the players seemed enthusiastic enough. But with 24 penalties, 30 line-outs and 18 scrums which included collapses and resets, there is not much time for constructive or exciting rugby. It was not a surprise that the 80 minutes produced just two tries.
The scoring was close enough to warrant a an occasional glance, especially as it seemed that the Force may well score an away win.
The Western Australians led 13-9 at the break but they failed score in the second half while the Waratahs got a converted try and a penalty for their 40 minutes' effort.
Bernard Foley's concussion kept him out of the match and the kicking responsibility fell to former rugby league player, Reece Robinson who was playing on the right wing for the Waratahs and whose goal-kicking was perfect.
He opened the scoring with two penalty goals to put the Waratahs 6-0 ahead. But then the Waratahs went on an infringement binge. They were penalised four times in quick succession. The third time Sekope Kepu was sin-binned for collapsing a maul from a fine line-out. In fact they would have been penalised a fifth time had the Force not scored a try.
The first three penalties produced five-metre line-outs. At the fourth the Force opted for a scrum about 10 metres from the Waratahs' line. They bashed at the line, the referee announced that he was playing advantage but the Force scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens drew the defenders to him and gave to Jonno Lance and the flyhalf was over next to the posts. That gave the force a 7-6 lead after 27 minutes.
Robinson got the lead back for his side with his third penalty after 33 minutes but two by Lance before half-time made the score 13-9 at the break.
The Waratahs attacked from the start of the second half and a penalty gave them an attacking line-out on the right. The went wide left and bashed and bashed at the Force line. The brave Force kept them out till, from another penalty, they tapped and gave to massive Will Skelton. He was too much for several Lilliputians defenders and scored. 16-13 after 45 minutes.
There were still 35 minutes to play, during which there was only one further score/. On 73 minutes Robinson kicked a penalty goal.
The only other bit of interest was the sin-binnnig of Richard Hardwick for a gentle tip tackle of Israel Folau.
The Waratahs leave on Sunday for a two-match tour to South Africa where they will play the Lions in Johannesburg next week followed by the Sharks in Durban the following weekend.
The Western Force have a short turnaround and face the Reds in Perth on Thursday.
Man of the Match: There were not really stand-out performances, however, our nod goes to Reece Robinson. The wing kicked four penalties to keep his side's in the game.
Pens: Robinson 4
For Western Force:
Pens: Lance 2
Yellow cards: Sekope Kepu (Waratahs; cynical play - collapsing the maul; 23), Richard Hardwick (Force; foul play - tip tackle; 79)
Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann (captain), 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Isireli Naisarani, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Alex Newsome.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)