Waratahs backline finally clicks

Britt11 Roar Rookie

By Britt11, Britt11 is a Roar Rookie

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17 Have your say

    It took five weeks, but finally the Waratahs displayed the attacking flair that Michael Cheika had been asking for all season.

    There were quick hands, smart passing, backline movements and running rugby all on display to entertain the crowd, and in the dying minutes the Waratahs held their nerves, made the correct decisions and won the game 30-27 after the siren.

    Although it was a great attacking game for the Waratahs, they still weren’t up to the standard expected of them.

    Loose balls, penalties in the ruck as well as somewhat soft defence allowed the Blues to take the lead in the first half and almost hold on to a tie in the second half.

    Even though the first three minutes looked like it would be last weeks debacle all over again, by the eighth minute the Waratahs moved the ball through the hands and Drew Mitchell found himself over the try line.

    The move was simple, run straight, keep the ball in hand and draw the defenders in, and it worked.

    Folau drew in the last defender and with a quick flick Mitchell had the ball with only metres to the try line. Eight minutes in and it was 7-3.

    However, this lead didn’t last for long, like usual the Waratahs had a great opportunity with the ball, moving downfield and keeping the ball in hand, until they were penalised in the ruck giving the Blues the ball.

    This was all the Blues needed to find gaps and get through the defence, by the 12-minute the Blues were ahead 10-7.

    The Tahs continued to put the pressure on the Blues with their ball movement and running and were often awarded with penalties as the Blues struggled to hold the Tahs defence.

    After Drew Mitchell threw a dummy and found a gap downfield, the Tahs were awarded an offside penalty in front of the posts. At the 23-minute it was all tied up 10-10.

    But after such great work the Tahs were unable to hold the Blues back in the last 20-minutes, awarding the Blues penalties and making errors all down the field. By the 29-minute the Blues had made it over the line again.

    After several minutes of pressure on the Waratahs defence, the Blues eventually found a gap and were over.

    It was only five minutes later that the Waratahs made another fumbling error which saw the Blues over the line again. By the 32-minute the Waratahs were trailing 24-10.

    The Waratahs struggled to convert their possession in the last minutes of the half, losing line-outs, dropping balls in tackles and finding themselves on the wrong side of the ruck.

    For the fourth time this season, the Tahs entered the change rooms behind in the score.

    After yet another Michael Cheika halftime talk, the Tahs entered the field ready to win back the match and in eight minutes they had crossed the line.

    After several minutes of fumbling on both sides, the Tahs took control of the ball. This time Foley threw a dummy, found a gap and using support players, Folau was put over the line. The Tahs were catching up to the Blues making the score 24-17.

    Yet again the Blues and Tahs forged ahead with the ball, but continued to make mistakes with plenty of dropped balls, ruck penalties and poor passes. Eventually the Tahs held on and after 13-phases, Foley had scored.

    The ball made its way back and forth along the back-line, with quick hands and forward movement, the Tahs were drawing with the Blues again, 24-24 at the 66-minute.

    With only minutes in the game left, the Waratahs continued to make head way down the field with Tom Kingston making a break down the side line gaining 20 metres, the Tahs were then awarded the penalty bringing the team ahead for the first time in the second half 27-24 with ten minutes left in the game.

    This was short lived however, as the Tahs continued making mistakes and awarding the Blues a penalty directly in front of the posts, the scores were again level 27-27 with eight minutes left.

    With only minutes left the Tahs held onto the ball and Mitchell again made a massive break downfield, but the Tahs were unable to get the points.

    The Tahs kept on the attack, moving the ball up and down the back line, eventually putting Foley in a position to kick for goal, but with only a minute to go he missed.

    After a quick restart and moments after the siren blasted, the Tahs were awarded a penalty directly in front of the posts.

    Foley made no mistake this time, as he kicked the Tahs to a win, 30-27.

    Although it was a messy match with dropped balls, several ruck penalties and loose line-outs, the Tahs will have something to take away for next week, with great attacking flair and tight back-line movements.

    Hopefully next week it will be an even better match against the Force, who managed to upset the Reds only two weeks ago.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • March 27th 2013 @ 3:39am
      Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 3:39am | ! Report

      Disagree with the article. The tahs backline to be honest outside of Drew Mitchell, and glimpses of Folau, were a collective mess.

      The forwards won the Tahs, the match not the backs. And the forwards were medium at best too.

      Statistics are misleading in both rugby and soccer. You can have all the territory in the World, it’s how you use it, the Blues had less ball and territory but when they had it were most of the match more threatning.

      Both halfbacks are rubbish, the little Alan Langer/Geoff Toovey halfback is a shadow of those players. The five-eigth is average to, bordering pedestrian- Daniel Halengahu style.

      AAC is solid in defence, but is average in attack. Manu Tuilagi is not shaking in his boots nor is O’driscoll, in the upcoming Lion’s series.

      Horne is a solid I/C, Pat Mcabe style, a godo defender not as good defender as Mcabe, but still very good. He has good speed not out and out fast but good speed and strength , is a far better I/C than outside centre but some signs of promise for Horne, not a ball player though , Tapui style, but still gutsy Conrad Smith/Pat Mcabe style.

      Betham is good runner, but handling let him down, wasn’t himself , maybe he is not really that good , has never really done much in his career he is no spring chicken, been at the rebels and didn’t do much. Tom Kingston is better I think , more consistent.

      And Drew Mitchell in all honesty that’s the first good game he has had in 2 years,. So the backline has a long way to go, and showing some promise, but the chiefs, or brumbies, or Reds, Hurricanes, or Sharks, are not shacking in there boots about the Tahs backline.

      And Tahs backline lacks depth too, a few injury worries kick in not much depth there.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 7:45am
        DMac said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        I’ll go with somewhere in the middle. The backs were much improved and Johnno is just being contrary by canning them like he does. They were still far from where they need to be though.

        I watched the game again last night and two things struck me.

        1. The Tahs support play still isn’t where if needs to be. However I counted 6 times were there was a break or half break and there was a man in support and and the tackled player failed to get the ball to him. At least 2 of them may well have led to tries. Needs to improve.

        2. The Tahs kicked a record low 7 times, but each and every one of them was truly appalling. I love the ball in hand philosophy but there are times when they’ll need to kick and I have no confidence they’re capable of it. Strange considering how much practice they had last year….

        • March 27th 2013 @ 8:02am
          stanley grella said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          the backline was great on occasion and slopy on others. the forwards lay the platform and the backs took advantage for all three waratah trys. thats the way it should be. not sure why Johno is so negative, Horne worked his but off, there was more interchange of passing between the centres than there has been in the last 3 years. Drew mitchell was made to look great due to the space he was able to find due to those inside him. its the way it should be and i hope they keep it up.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 8:48am
            Boomeranga said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

            Agree. It was the best we’ve seen from them for a while. We’re still very error prone, but improving which is good.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 9:28am
          Sailosi said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          I must admit i didn’t notice the amount of kicking. Is that true they only kicked it 7 times. That is staggering.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 7:37am
      Rebel said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Foley was the man of the match

      • March 27th 2013 @ 10:27am
        WOLF said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        so he should have been.
        “The five-eigth is average to, bordering pedestrian- Daniel Halengahu style”.
        Nice comment Johnno. you must have watched a different game.
        he was easily man of the match. out of all the aussie 10”s, he was the best of the lot.
        keep talking the rubbish johnno, its quite amusing

        • March 28th 2013 @ 12:17am
          GWS said | March 28th 2013 @ 12:17am | ! Report

          Yeah give foley the gold 10.
          What a joke.
          They only won on a forward pass to folau

    • March 27th 2013 @ 8:34am
      jutsie said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Aac had his best game for the tahs, solid in d against the dangerous ranger and made a ton of meters with ball in hand. He even got the trademark fend going.

      • March 28th 2013 @ 6:47am
        Ash said | March 28th 2013 @ 6:47am | ! Report

        What I like about AAC is that he always straightens the attack up and never crabs accross the field.

        • Roar Guru

          March 28th 2013 @ 3:43pm
          AlBo said | March 28th 2013 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          He’s also starting to get past that outside shoulder and free his fend up. He’s playing like the AAC of a few years back.

    • Roar Guru

      March 27th 2013 @ 10:56am
      jeznez said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

      I’m loving the improvement from this team. That was a game I would not have been surprised to see them lose and they won it. The Tahs tries were better Than any they scored last year and as said above there are improvements to be made as the team makes breaks. Couple that with McKibbin needing to learn not to kick away turn over ball and there are plenty of positives to take from the game to go along with ways to make their game better.

    • Roar Guru

      March 27th 2013 @ 2:11pm
      AdamS said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

      No Barnes and its a whole different game for the Tahs.
      It was certainly more entertaining, but they gifted most of the Blues points and it was a very dark day for the backs defense when a hooker can rumble in a 40 meter try….

    • March 27th 2013 @ 5:35pm
      PJ said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

      Really? they clicked? people go on about Tom Carter not passing the ball well in my opinio Rob Horne takes the cake i counted at least 7 occasions on Sunday where he either died with ball in hand or cut back inside instead off passing to either AAC or Drew. BRING BACK TC

      • March 28th 2013 @ 12:18am
        GWS said | March 28th 2013 @ 12:18am | ! Report

        Ha. Bring back carter.
        Thats funny…

      • Roar Guru

        March 28th 2013 @ 12:44am
        jeznez said | March 28th 2013 @ 12:44am | ! Report

        PJ not that much between them as 12’s in their kick/pass/run stats this season.

        Horne on the weekend for k/p/r went 0/5/7
        Carters matches went:
        Reds 1/13/15
        Rebels 0/3/7
        Brumbies 0/4/2

        You have to look at those as Carter having a solid game of both receiving and using the ball against the Reds but after that Horne has had the next best game for using the ball. You have to balance those facts by considering that it was Horne’s first ever start at12 for the Tahs and he was better at using the ball than Tom has been in two matches so far.

        I saw enough to be enthused by Horne and certainly no reason to rush Tom back.

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