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Waratahs vs Reds
Super Rugby, 14 April, 2018
|Sydney Cricket Ground|
|Fulltime - Waratahs 37, Reds 16|
|Referee: Angus Gardner|
|Touch judges: Marius van der Westhuizen & James Leckie|
|TMO: George Ayoub|
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The Waratahs host the Reds Saturday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm AEST.
The Waratahs have beaten Reds seven games in the row. If the Reds do not pick up their try-scoring abilities, it will be eight. The bookies agree, giving $3.60 for an unlikely Reds away win.
The last two games were close, with a winning margin of three points or less. However, those were played in Brisbane.
All the losing matches in Sydney were one-way affairs with a New South Wales winning margin of at least 20 points.
Last week, the Reds were defeated by a more enterprising Brumbies by a similarly high margin. Dan McKellar’s attack finally clicked. I suspect Daryl Gibson’s Waratahs attack will do the same.
Their set piece seems to be functioning well, bolstered by the best set piece lock in Australia – the loyal yet unwanted former Red, Rob Simmons.
The Reds twin props, “Smith and Smith” will be a worry for many fans and the coaches, especially that Taniela Tupou is out due to injury. Their scrummaging has been under pressure in the past few games.
But the greatest pressure that Brad Thorn faces is the ability to keep the pill in multiple phases to deliver points and tries. They have also faded after 40 or so minutes – the result of an “immature” and young team.
The same can be same of the Reds coach. Last week, the lack of initiative to replace two injured players was the turning point of the game.
This is punctuated by the coach’s lack of recognition of this oversight after the match.
There are some adjustment to the Reds line-up this week, due to injuries and rotations. Samu Kerevi continues to keep his 12 jersey, which is a very good thing for him, the Reds and Australian Rugby in my opinion.
The Waratahs have not won four games in a row since 2016. Looking at their next few rounds, they may extend this to a tally of six with home games against the Lions then the Blues. While their attacking approach and pattern is not as dynamic as New Zealand teams – it works!
Quick breakdown cycles, a playmaker fullback and line busting backs has delivered the goods for New South Wales so far. As a sign of confidence, the coach retained 22 of last week’s 23 players.
While Kurtley Beale has not delivered too many exciting performances in the past few eight rounds, I suspect “KB” will cut the fading Queenslanders like hot knife through butter during the latter part of the game.
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