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Waratahs welcome the return of running rugby

Britt11 Roar Rookie

By Britt11, Britt11 is a Roar Rookie

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    In another stressful night for Michael Cheika, the NSW Waratahs struggled to impress the crowds until late into their match, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 31-26 over the weekend.

    Similar to last week, the Waratahs were deceptive in their first few minutes, turning the ball over and forcing a penalty from the Rebels within the first three minutes. They took an early lead, but these were the last points scored by the Tahs until late into the half.

    The Rebels managed to maintain consistent possession, creating gaps, running the ball and using the Waratahs’ messy play to their advantage, posting a 10-point lead by half-time.

    Although the Waratahs struggled to maintain possession, examples of excellence were seen with the forward pack, especially Ben Robinson, running the ball up and pushing through the defence.

    However, as a result of the team’s poor discipline, Tatafu Polota-Nau spent ten minutes in the bin.

    The Rebels soon took advantage of the extra man, sending Ged Robinson over the line from a short throw in. By the 27-minute mark the Rebels were in total control leading the match 13-3.

    Again, like last week, the Tahs continued to miss opportunities, with dropped balls and poor passes, only being able to post another three points to the board after a penalty in the ruck.

    By the 38-minute mark the Rebels were again ahead by ten points after another ruck infringement by the Waratahs.

    It was only the few minutes after the half time siren that the Waratahs were able to hold possession for a significant time, running the ball and passing it down the line with continuing phase play.

    However, they were unable to convert their effort into points, after a missed penalty attempt, leaving them trailing the Rebels 16-10.

    After the now weekly Michael Cheika half-time talk, and the substitution of Tom Kingston with Ben Volavola, the Waratahs returned to the field with energy and put the pressure on the Rebels to stay ahead.

    After a few messy minutes, the Waratahs turned the tables, creating gaps in the Rebels defence, passing the ball along the line, and using minimal strategic kicking.

    Within minutes the forwards had made a massive 30-metre run up field, with great offloads, and after an unlucky call the Waratahs found themselves ten metres from the try line.

    Putting great pressure on the Rebels scrum, the Waratahs were rewarded with a penalty and as a result of more poor discipline Rebels player, Laurie Weeks, was yellow carded. Only minutes later the Waratahs were on the board for the first time in the second half scoring three points with a penalty.

    Making several school boy errors, the Rebels soon found themselves on the back foot in their own 22 after losing a throw-in, engaging early in a scrum and then leaving gaps in their back line.

    The Waratahs pounced on these opportunities, with quick hands through the back line and great phase play, eventually finding Bernard Foley over the line after a good pass inside from Folau. The conversion was successful and scores were level with 20 minutes to go.

    With more courageous plays, the Waratahs were finding gaps in the Rebels defence, making metres down field and were again metres away from the try line. After a great eleven-phase play, Michael Hooper was over the line, putting the Waratahs in front for the first time since the beginning of the match, leading the Rebels 23-16 in the 66 minute.

    Both teams continued to give away penalties and by the 72-minute mark both teams had converted a penalty, bringing the score 26-19. However, the Waratahs continued with their attacking flair, putting pressure on the Rebels defence and again making it to the opposition 22-metre mark.

    Five metres from their try line, the Rebels failed under the pressure, giving away a free kick for taking too long with their lineouts. It was this opportunity that saw Paddy Ryan over the line with only five minutes left in the match, bringing the score 31-19.

    However, the Waratahs were unable to finish the match on a high after releasing the pressure on the Rebels and playing messy rugby.

    They provided the Rebels with a penalty only metres from the tryline which Kurtley Beale converted into a try under the post, bringing the scores 31-26 in the last minute of the match.

    Although a messy match and loose in rucks, this win is proof that the Tahs do have an ability to play fast, adventurous, running rugby and with work on basics and better first halves, the Waratahs can be a hard team to beat.

    Hopefully next week against the Brumbies they will be able to play two halves of great running rugby.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2013 @ 3:14am
      biltongbek said | March 5th 2013 @ 3:14am | ! Report

      To be very honest the Warathas have nit yet convinced me at all.

      They built confidence through the errors of the Rebels and a referee who denied the Rebels three try scoring opportunities by penalising them at the breakdown. That eventually took the stuffing out of the Rebels who in all hoensty with a more consistent referee performance should have led by plenty at half time.

      The yellow card to the Rebels was the last bit of resitance they hade left, and momentum swung the Waratah ‘s way.

      Was that against a stronger team the Waratahs would have got a lesson in accurate play.

      Far too soon to believe the Waratahs have turned a corner.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 6:09am
        mania said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:09am | ! Report

        biltongbek – but dont u just love the rose coloured spectacles the tahs supporters have? they’re always so positive that x or y is whats going to save tahs rugby this year. this year the x = folau and y = cheika.

        • Roar Guru

          March 5th 2013 @ 6:13am
          biltongbek said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:13am | ! Report

          Haha, yeah mate, I think positivity is good, but one performance (against the Rebels) does not make a season.

          • March 5th 2013 @ 6:19am
            mania said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:19am | ! Report

            u and i are too level headed with both feet on the ground. i’m beginning to appreciate the tahs supporter for their faith in the tahs every season. kind of like the canes but with less swag

            • Roar Guru

              March 5th 2013 @ 6:29am
              biltongbek said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:29am | ! Report

              Gee mate, comparing the Canes to the Waratahs is just sacraledge.

              When you say less swagger, you haven’t even lifted the lid yet.

              • March 5th 2013 @ 6:40am
                mania said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:40am | ! Report

                biltongbek – lol. yeah true. much much less swag, tho cant say much for the canes performance in the weekend .

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2013 @ 6:53am
                biltongbek said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:53am | ! Report

                Well I always enjoy watching the Canes, I was very disappointed in their loss, I predicted they will win on Superbru, cost me points.

              • March 5th 2013 @ 6:55am
                mania said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:55am | ! Report

                dont get me started biltongbek.i blame the gameplan and barrett being made to play it even tho it doesnt suit the canes. kicking for territory and going for percentage play is not natural for the canes.

              • March 5th 2013 @ 6:55am
                mania said | March 5th 2013 @ 6:55am | ! Report

                of course perenara is also a bit off so he shoulder as much blame

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2013 @ 5:33pm
                jeznez said | March 5th 2013 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

                easy mania – what were the Canes going to do to the Reds given the rain that was around?

                😀

                For the Tahs – I’m excited, in the loss to the Reds and the second half of the game against the Rebels there is just so much more structure, endeavour and positive play.

                I really felt for the poor old Force fans on the weekend, watching them kick away the first five turn over balls they won led me to think Foley had plastered his hand prints onto the team. The second half fight back while unsuccessful was pleasantly surprising.

                Back on the Tahs – the guys only won four games last season and the win on Friday snapped an 8 game losing streak – will take any positives I can at the moment!

              • March 6th 2013 @ 7:41am
                mania said | March 6th 2013 @ 7:41am | ! Report

                jeznez – it had stopped raining by then and canes played like muppetts. thats my alibi and i’m sticking to it.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 3:34am
      Billy Bob said | March 5th 2013 @ 3:34am | ! Report

      Biltong, it is possible to say that the Tahs are losing (and almost losing to the Rebels) with a different style this year.
      I hope to be proved wrong on this but one coach does not a necessary cultural change make.
      Penrith, Parramatta, Newcastle or Orange stadiums could fit more than 11k fans, couldn’t they?

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2013 @ 3:57am
        biltongbek said | March 5th 2013 @ 3:57am | ! Report

        Billybob, i don’t know, I watched the game and am trying to remember all this impressive running, but can’t.

        I will hold my opinion until I see them play against a top team again.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 3:58am
      Hightackle said | March 5th 2013 @ 3:58am | ! Report

      The Tahs ran less and kicked more than the Rebels.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 10:58am
        Mals said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        That is true Hightackle. However, the Tahs ran for more total metres than the Rebels & had 9 line breaks to the Rebels 2. I would say that is a fair indication that the Tahs running game was better on the night.

        • Roar Guru

          March 5th 2013 @ 7:17pm
          Mantis said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

          Or the Rebels defense was just way worse.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 11:32am
        atlas said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        rugby stats has Waratahs run m 610, Rebels 682
        Kicks W 15 and R 14
        Not much in it.
        Both teams could do with a tackle bag this week, 83% success for Waratahs, 73% for Rebels
        – actual numbers are missed 23 W, 24 R
        No defence coach would be satisfied with that.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 2:05pm
      Johnno said | March 5th 2013 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      Tahs are in crisis. They an old team 24 out of the 30 players have not been signed for next year, they are facing a mass exodus.

      I can see why, they are an ageing team.

      Plenty of them have the feel for a Japan or French rugby stint.

      http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby-gold/nsw-waratahs-in-danger-of-mass-exodus/story-fn8ti7yn-1226590269343

      • March 5th 2013 @ 2:30pm
        jameswm said | March 5th 2013 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

        Wow.

        That could be catastrophic. Who do they really want to keep?

        Ryan is there, so Robinson or Kepu vital.
        Both hookers.
        Timani brothers
        Dennis and Hooper are signed.
        Foley, Mitchell and Vv in the backs, plus one or two of Betham, Turner and Kingston

      • March 5th 2013 @ 4:54pm
        nickoldschool said | March 5th 2013 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

        Why didn’t they extend some players earlier? In today’s world, I had never seen, in any sport, 80% of a squad off contract at the end of a season.

        Bringing KB back has to be a priority IMO. Amazed by these figures/ article Johnno.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 5:42pm
        formeropenside said | March 5th 2013 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

        The worst thing is, if all (or even a lot) those players go, then the Tahs wont try to find replacements in club rugby as the Reds and Brumbies have over the last few years: it will be an all out raid on the other State and provinces. Hopefully no Reds players will be so hard up as to accept an offer to play for the Tahs, but you cant rule anything out these days.

        • Roar Guru

          March 5th 2013 @ 5:55pm
          Jiggles said | March 5th 2013 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

          Most of those blokes will sign again or bugger off overseas. The Reds might like someone like Ryan or Tillse, but thats about it as the rest aren’t good enough. They’d be to full of themselves to want to go to Perth and I doubt the Brumbies would take any. Maybe a few to the Rebels.

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2013 @ 7:19pm
      Mantis said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

      If the Tahs play like that against the Brumbies they will get a hammering. Or if they play like that against any team inside the top 10…

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