Reds, Blues shows ‘Tahs how rugby should be played
147 Have your say
Jason Allen is the very impressive Waratahs’ CEO, but in this case he’s pulled the wrong rein. In a bid to placate dwindling supporters, he’s called a “fans forum” next Thursday night at the SFS to give them a chance to tell the men-in-blue where they are going wrong, and how to fix it.
If the Waratahs don’t know what’s wrong, they don’t deserve to represent the proud Waratah emblem on the NSW jersey.
But if they haven’t got the message, which places them in the thick category, all Allen has to do is hand every contracted Waratah a tape of last night’s top of the table cracker at Suncorp between the Reds and Blues and make them watch it right through, and keep watching it, until the penny drops.
It was 80-minutes of scintillating running rugby, the way the sport should be played. The best game of the year by far, and a leading contender for game of the decade.
Pulsating. The game they play in heaven.
The night started with the Blues on top of the overall table, and the New Zealand Conference, on 47 points, with the Reds second on the overall, and leading the Australian Conference on 46.
Today, the Reds top the table on 51, with the Blues second on 48, after the Reds won this fascinating end-to-end head-to-head match 37-31, with four brilliant tries apiece.
Quade Cooper’s boot was the difference, landing seven from seven, with four conversions and three penalties to four and one. Luke McAlister missed two three-pointers.
By the clock:
* In the first 36 minutes, the Reds crossed for three tries to lead 24-nil – totally in command, a case of how far?
* In the next 21 minutes, the Reds led 27-24 – the Blues surged, result in doubt.
A massive turnaround. Game on.
Did the Reds turn off, endemic in Australian sides, or did the Blues show enormous courage?
Probably a bit of both, but whatever the reason/s, it had the 30,041 Suncorp spectators on their feet, and millions of television viewers worldwide on the edge of their seats.
Watching Reds’ winger Digby Ioane consistently beat his man and supports with searching runs, often from cold starts, and tackling his heart out.
Watching Will Genia, and Cooper dictate play like traffic cops, both bringing off stunning tackles. That’s expected of Genia, but not of Cooper, who tackled like a man possessed.
The Reds tight five was superb, the lineout jumping of skipper James Horwill and Rob Simmons near perfect.
And the backrow of Beau Robinson, Scott Higginbotham, and Radike Samo were non-stop in both attack and defence.
For the Blues, hooker-skipper Keven Mealamu was inspirational, especially when the Reds led 24-nil. He marshalled his troops.
Locks Ali Williams and Anthony Boric were tireless around the park, and won clean lineout ball.
Halves Alby Mathewson and Stephen Brett were constantly sharp and probing, while replacement centre Lachie Munro was close to being the Blues’ best.
And the class wingers – Joe Rokocoko, and Rene Ranger – were always dangerous but contained, until Ranger ranged up for the Blues’ fourth try after the final hooter to clinch two precious points.
This game had everything, including controversial South African referee Jonathan Kaplan, who to his credit, allowed the play to flow. To his continual discredit, the contemptuous way he speaks to the players will never be acceptable.
Just as the Waratah supporters cannot accept the way their team is playing.
But they’re not in a position to tell them how to play, either. Leave that to the Reds-Blues tape.
Your move Jason Allen.
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