Hot and cold Waratahs loom as the danger team
Will the Waratahs be a bogey team? (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Michael Foley’s hot and cold Waratahs hold the key to the Super Rugby play-off aspirations of the Brumbies and the Reds.
With four rounds to be decided, the Brumbies are on 45 points and the Reds 40 after last night’s 13-12 win over their arch rivls, dodging a bullet when Brumbies fly-half Zack Holmes missed a penalty shot in the shadow of full-time, his only miss of the night.
In the run home, the Brumbies have the Rebels away, Force away, Waratahs away, and the Blues at home.
The Reds have a bye, an automatic four points, Rebels away, Highlanders home, and the Waratahs at home.
On that draw, the Brumbies have the inside running, even though three of their four games are away. They shouldn’t have any trouble with the Rebels, Force, or Blues. The Waratahs are the danger.
But the defending champion Reds have two danger teams in three – the Highlanders and Waratahs. The big bonus will be both are at Suncorp with the massive support of the red army in excess of 30,000.
It all depends on what Waratah squad turns up to play, that’s the lottery.
Last night at Bloemfontein against the Cheetahs, the Waratahs were hot in the first half dotting down four tries, two of them superbly constructed, to lead 31-21 at the break and in control.
In the second half the Waratahs were cold, bordering on pathetic with a lone penalty goal, while the Cheetahs waltzed away with a 35-34 victory.
Berrick Barnes had the chance to pinch a win with four minutes left on the clock, but his long-range penalty fell short. And in the last minute the Waratahs ignored a possible Barnes drop goal attempt from right in front by constant pick-and-go going nowhere. Dumb rugby.
Despite their hot and cold form there will still be a fair smattering of Waratahs named in the Wallaby squad today for the one-off Test against Scotland, and three against Wales with question marks over the fitness of Wallaby skipper James Horwill (knee), and Kurtley Beale’s shoulder. Both were serious enough to leave the field yesterday.
It would be a salute to Wallaby coach Robbie Deans if he names Zack Holmes, who outplayed Quade Cooper in Canberra last night, in only his second run-on appearance for the Brumbies.
The same could be said for the selection of four more Brumbies in winger Joe Tomane, full-back Jesse Mogg, with Sam Carter and his lock partner Scott Fardy, who can also play on the side of the scrum.
Welcome new blood with talent.