Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley inspire a Super Rugby semi berth

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Israel Folau of the Waratahs and Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs celebrate victory in the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Cheetahs at Allianz Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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    It came as no surprise when the Waratahs Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley suddenly clicked in a ten-minute second-half burst last night at Allianz Stadium to turn another humiliating defeat into a spine-tingling victory.

    The bigger question would be where were the big three in the previous 131 minutes?

    That’s the 80 minutes last week in a shock 40-31 loss to the Brumbies that cost the Waratahs second place on the overall Super Rugby ladder and a home semi.

    And the first 51 minutes last night when the Highlanders led 23-6 and were in total control of the sudden death quarterfinal.

    The Waratahs were stuffed at that stage, and there was no way they weren’t heading for the Super Rugby exit door.

    Then out of nowhere, the big three were suddenly magnificent.

    Two brilliant Beale busts sent Folau and Foley in for tries, a superb Folau bust saw Foley cross again and he converted all three.

    For Foley, it was a timely Super Rugby career-best 25 points.

    So from 23-6 down and out to a 27-23 lead was awesome, even though the stats tell a very different story in the eventual 30-23 victory.

    The Waratahs missed 24 tackles, mainly in the first half debacle.

    But when push turned to shove late in the game as the Highlanders threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the Waratahs close to their line in the final 10 minutes, the Waratahs didn’t miss one tackle.

    They were sensational with their pride and passion shining brightly.

    Roarers won’t believe these stats.

    The Waratahs had only 38 per cent possession and 32 per cent territory in the second half, but they kept a rampaging Highlander outfit scoreless while piling on 24 points.

    Go figure.

    But that’s the magic of Beale, Folau and Foley when they are on fire.

    And last night Nick Phipps played a leading role as well in that ten-minute burst.

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Next week, in the sudden death semi at altitude in Johannesburg against the Lions, the Waratah roster must fire and not go to sleep with brain dead rugby unbecoming a quality side.

    One thing is for sure, the Waratahs can’t always rely on the big three running riot.

    One stat that is spot on is the four top try-scoring franchises have reached the semis.

    The Crusaders and Lions crossed for 77 in the scheduled rounds, the Waratahs for 74, and the Hurricanes for 66, so the best defence will decide the finalists.

    The Waratahs are capable of winning the coveted title, but only if they play for 80 minutes.

    They haven’t done that all season, but next weekend would be a fine time to start.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (112)

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 7:51am
      Realist said | July 22nd 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      The Tahs rode their luck – milking the conference system for an undeserved home final but will be destroyed in South Africa. If they were playing the Crusaders, Hurricanes or Chiefs it would be really brutal
      How did the Tahs get an Aussie ref in charge ?

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:10am
        Peter said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        How did the South African Lions get an all-SA refereeing team? Very easy to say the Jo’burgers got the soft penalties and 50-50s, milked the conference system, yada yada.
        I agree that all finals, and preferably all games, should be run by a neutral referee if the teams are from different countries.

        • Roar Pro

          July 22nd 2018 @ 10:07am
          Melburnian said | July 22nd 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Or for that matter, how did the Crusaders get an all NZ officials team for their home QF against the Sharks? Even the NZ commentry team were perplexed by some of Mike Fraser’s calls including penalizing the Sharks for holding on when the call should have gone the other way for hands in the ruck.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 23rd 2018 @ 10:39am
            piru said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            Wouldn’t get too excited about that part, the NZ commentators repeatedly misunderstood the ruck laws – both of them talking about hands in the ruck when no ruck had formed.

            Marshall in particular needs to read the Roar and get his facts straight,

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:42am
        gekko said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        Waste of keyboard

        • July 23rd 2018 @ 8:05am
          zhenry said | July 23rd 2018 @ 8:05am | ! Report

          I did not go all the way to end of comments, but read many, and not one mention of 3 tries during yellow card, and of course the main article; no mention of Naholoa’s yellow card.
          That’s normal for Mr Lord but not for some of the commenters. A good example of too many AU rugby journalists poor reporting and selective bias.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 22nd 2018 @ 9:02am
        Sage said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Another thread and another conference moan. Now which one from the last 12 years or so….
        We’ll go with “would you like some cheese with that whine”? The game was there for the taking and wasn’t taken. The better team won. End of.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 23rd 2018 @ 10:16pm
          Kirky said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:16pm | ! Report

          Sage, Buttercup, the best team did not win the game, a bit of skill while the opposition was undermanned, that, won them the game ~, what about the first half and the majority of the second? ~ The Highlanders were all over the Tahs like a rash and you know it!

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:35am
        Wix said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        Wow you saw for yo reguriatate your pettiness on 2 seperate articles. Well done you. Must be feeling so good now you have expelled the poison. Off now to do the morning milk and feed.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am
        Paul D said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Pretty sure you were telling us all how the Highlanders were going to crush the Tahs last week too.

        I guess, see you next week for your “waratahs dont deserve it, will be crushed in Christchurch” comment.

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 5:41pm
          Jacko said | July 22nd 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

          Paul he definately wont say that….Because the Tahs go to SA not Ch-ch…maybe the week after eh?

        • Roar Rookie

          July 23rd 2018 @ 10:11pm
          Kirky said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

          Paul D! ~ If you had any knowledge of the game of rugby and particularly the simple facts of the winning and losing of any game at all and the causative effects of that said winning and losing, ~ You’d be wise to realise that in the first half of the game between the Tah’s and Highlanders the other day, the Waratahs were absolutely cleaned out right across the Park, they were in fact like ”stunned mullets”! ~ Smashed!! could be the word!

          They were in for a hiding to nothing, but when it so happened that Naholo in his absolute stupidity, got himself Carded, your Boys the Tah’s took great advantage of the period of the Yellow Card time off for Naholo, and scored a couple of very good tries and “made hay while the sun shone”, then it all started to gel’ again for the Highlanders but they were pinged about three time by Gardner right on the line when they had the winning of the game in their hands, the best Halfback playing the game and a current All Black, floated a pass to a player at hand and that big guy winger intercepted that ball and after that they were over the line again but ruled as a knock on again by Gardner, then all the Tah’s had to do was run the clock!

          Don’t tell me Gardner is a good Ref, he’s like every other Ref’! ~ when it suits the hat fits.

          The Tah’s won the game and it would be wrong to say it was not deserved, it was a case of ‘how it happened! ~ but really speaking they shouldn’t be too happy for probably about 75% of it, They didn’t play well at all really and the Kiwi Coach would have to be really concerned about the absolute annihilation his Tah’s got from the Highlanders particularly in the first half, he should be a worried Kiwi boy!

          When you look at it, the Tah’s used the yellow card time off and scored points which any team worth their spot in any Super Team would be expected to do, and they did it well as one player off leaves one hell of a big hole to run through, so good on them for that, but in saying that, the Highlanders didn’t play crap rugby in that second half as most Aussies in particular say, ~ it was a gross case of a missing player and an intercept by a big guy that cost the Highlanders the game, the most crucial episode was not so much the yellow card incident, but the intercept by Naiyavoro when they only had to fall over the line, almost under the posts and it would very, very likely been the winning of the game for the Highlanders!

          I don’t know much about the Lions, but on their patch any team from the Republic is very hard to beat and if the Waratahs don’t lift their game above how they played against the Highlanders, ~ it will not bode well for them! ~ I sure hope I’m wrong!

          • July 24th 2018 @ 4:38pm
            REEGS said | July 24th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

            You fail to mention that the Highlanders couldnt score a point when the Tahs were down to 14? How come you missed that point, oh yeah selective bias. Highlanders had 2 scrums inside the tahs 15 metre line and couldnt move the scrum. Finals rugby is how you win and capitlize on the big moments and the Highlanders couldnt do that despite playing against 14 for the biggest 7 minutes of the game.

            if they score there, they play the first 3 minutes of extra time 1 player up, but again they could win the big moments.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 23rd 2018 @ 10:37pm
          Kirky said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

          Paul D, ~ I like an optimist cobber’ good onya’ for having some of it!! you’ll need all that optimism to just get over the Lions, good luck with that!

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 1:43pm
        double agent said | July 22nd 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        That mistake festival between Canes and Chiefs wouldn’t have anyone particularly bothered.

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:25pm
          Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          Why is that?Because I think your wrong.Other teams are just lucky due to conference system and cannibalisation.

          • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:27pm
            Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

            And yes, thankyou spell check.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 23rd 2018 @ 10:34pm
            Kirky said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

            Mapu! What about the Lions, who have had seven losses and are in a semi and a team like the Chiefs are out with a hell of a better record! ~ The same could be said about the Waratahs, they’ve done nothing and they’re in the semis!

            You’re right Ehoa’ the Conference is so unfair it’s become a joke, and I think the only reason you don’t hear too much from the Kiwi side of the Competition as being aware of what a Mickey Mouse Tournament it is, they use the games to bring the talent out for possible All Blacks in the making, just watch Shag’ Hansen and his Boys this weekend, be interesting what they watch!

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:02pm
        The Sheriff said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        he same way the Crusaders v Sharks had a NZ referee, who was not too kind to the Sharks, according to the NZ commentators.

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:07pm
          Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

          Still,not right.I know so many people turning off super rugby because of these mitigating circumstances.Wait ,who do they need to pay for everything?

    • Roar Guru

      July 22nd 2018 @ 7:53am
      Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 22nd 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Thought the same thing David.
      The Tahs have just played one and a half games without leadership.
      Kurtley may be the attack leader, and his illness last week was the difference.

      Leadership and passion may also explain why a wild passing nine continues to get a gig in sky blue (and in gold).
      Leaedership was missing last night till the season was resurrected in the last 30 minutes.
      Well done to Phipps, Foley, Beale and Folau.

    • Roar Pro

      July 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am
      Clash said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      It was Phipps who was the first to show some fight. He had a great game. The other three followed after Phipps showed the way.

      All in all a really good game to watch – and the ref was hardly noticed. Wonderful.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 10:11am
        Rhys Bosley said | July 22nd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        Agreed, whatever his other faults Phipps is a hell of a competitor and it showed last night.

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 11:35am
          norm de plume said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          Yes and yes.

          I think it was Kurtley’s contribution that was the most important to victory, he took the game by the scruff of the neck and created two tries, but that came after Phipps had upped the intensity and came up with some some crucial plays. Foley and Folau fed off them, Newsome too was very good and Taqele only lost the ball once for twice and always made ground. The piggies had been made to look second rate but that burst puts some lead in their pencils. Miller again played well, Staniforth was direct, Kepu too.

          It is difficult to see them winning in Africa though.

          • July 22nd 2018 @ 11:44am
            Rhys Bosley said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            “It is difficult to see them winning in Africa though.”

            Yeah, I just don’t rate the Tah’s pack enough to get over the line at altitude and after that trip, especially given that both Hooper and Simmons are potentially out for the semi. The only way I see there being an upset is if the Lions stuff something up big time, probably a red card, otherwise they are firm favourits.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 23rd 2018 @ 10:43pm
            Kirky said | July 23rd 2018 @ 10:43pm | ! Report

            NDPlume ~ Beale had sweet fanny in the contribution towards that win, it was a lucky win albeit a good one, but the only real contributor was Foley, ~ How many points did he score?

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 12:48pm
        Johnny Boy said | July 22nd 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        Actually the most important play of the night was the intercept by Taqele Naiyaravoro. It was a major stuff up by Aaron Smith and it’s something that you shouldn’t expect from an AB halfback. Had he just put the ball through the hands, the Clan would have scored with a 5 on 3 overlap, but he lost patience and went for the silly cut out pass. Still it took some work for Taqele to intercept that pass though so all credit to him. Had he not caught that, the Highlanders score and the game would have been out of reach.

        • Roar Guru

          July 22nd 2018 @ 12:53pm
          taylorman said | July 22nd 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

          Yep thats true, NZ teams typically play high risk gameplans and sometimes get it wrong. DMac did the same when Savea scored. Intercepts are a high percentage of tries versus NZ teams. So in reality ABs do it often.

          • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm
            Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

            Smith backs his pass and for that he can get the job done.He may of gone one two early in this instance.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm
        he Sheriff said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

        Agreed.
        About time Phipps got some credit.

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 7:06pm
          Realist said | July 22nd 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

          It is about time Phipps got some credit ????

          He has been handed about 40 Test Jerseys he 100% didn’t deserve and was the best player for England on the field throughout the 3-0 whitewash a couple of years back. He saved his worst career form for last year (still walking into the Wallabies 23) and has been predictably inconsistent in 2018.

          Glad he had a good game for once FFS

    • Roar Guru

      July 22nd 2018 @ 8:29am
      taylorman said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Agree with the need to have the key players firing, not a good recipe to win knockouts with as as you say David, they went missing last week.

      For me Tahs have done their dash and a Lions win next week probably reflects the difference between two close sides, at least as far as the table goes, home and travel advantage to the Lions, as Mr Lords previous article comes back to haunt.

      Oh, and can we make sure Beale keeps his mobile off and earphones on during the flight.😁

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 8:53am
        Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        A sneaky little off the ball play there Tman.
        We can refer to Julian’s AVO as well as Aaron’s dunny deeds years after the event too eh bro? Adding an emoticon doesn’t make you funny or less wierd.

        Tahs celebrated as if they had just won the comp, and frankly I think they have stretched themselves to get to next week. Missing Dempsey (and Potgeiter). Not enough punch in the pigs to advance further considering the jet lag they will be dealing with.
        Even if they somehow beat the ref, Marx and the Sharks, then there is the long haul flight back to battle with a dozen AllBlacks in either the Saders or Canes. A flight too far for them.
        As silly as aspects of the conference system is in parts, it does maximise international engagement till the end of the comp, and the best team usually wins the comp.
        It is still the Saders to lose.

        • Roar Guru

          July 22nd 2018 @ 9:07am
          taylorman said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Yes for me the rest are just going through the motions. Saders at home and now 13 straight, mostly convincing, wins in four countries seals the deal.

          Whoever manages to beat them when they are now at full quota will cause one of rugbys biggests upsets for a while. Not unbeatable but no far from it, especially with the Saders knockout abilities.

          Almost boring😁

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:54am
        Fionn said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        It’d be rather odd if the Tahs beat the Lions in Joburg given the shellacking that the Lions gave the Tahs in Sydney in the regular rounds. Tahs upset is not outside the realm of possibility though. The Lions have been very inconsistent, but look well placed to reach another final.

        • Roar Guru

          July 22nd 2018 @ 9:47am
          taylorman said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          If anyone will provide upsets its the Tahs, who have such unpredictability due to requiring that their three or four stars or key players step up. They do, they usually win, they dont, they lose.

          Of most sides they produce more tries out of nowhere. Hard team to support I guess and conversation is always about foley, Phipps, folau, hooper, beale. Theyre the players that make the difference. Either way.

          They could win this comp, but it will take a lot more blitzes like the one last night. They wont win the standard way, controlling the ball, possession, territory, set pieces etc. nope…rip out a try here and there is the tahs way.

          • July 22nd 2018 @ 10:36am
            Fionn said | July 22nd 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            I think that they match up really poorly against the Crusaders. I think they’d have a decent chance in a home final against the Hurricanes though, who have been pretty inconsistent recently themselves.

            • Roar Guru

              July 22nd 2018 @ 11:27am
              PeterK said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              agree

              The odds are against them at altitude in SA.

              Lions scrum will get many penalties, Marx will dominate the rucks and get many turnovers.

              The Lions lineout a lot stronger as well.

              Both teams have a good attack and suspect defence.

              Lions kicking game though is a lot better.

              Latu should start, and Hegarty at f/b, but probably neither of these will happen.

              • July 22nd 2018 @ 11:42am
                Fionn said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

                Playing against the Lions with Malcolm Marx fit is a very different proposition, aye?

                Honestly, I’d love for the Lions to win their first Super Rugby title. They’ve played some wonderful rugby the last few years. I think they deserve a title.

              • Roar Guru

                July 22nd 2018 @ 11:52am
                PeterK said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

                for lions to win they really need canes to beat the saders and then get a home final

                I have to say , no surprise, that I want the tahs to win the title no matter how unlikely that is.

                If not them yes I would like to see the lions get it.

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:43am
      Joseph said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      David you say Foley, Beale and Folau clicked in a 10-minute burst in the second half? The same 10-minute period that Naholo was in the sin-bin.
      WOW!!! Inspiring indeed..

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 11:25am
        Ruckin Oaf said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        Yeah an opportunity presented itself – but you still have to have the ability to take the opportunity.

        I didn’t see Highlanders running in a couple of quick tries when the ‘Tahs were a man down.

        • July 23rd 2018 @ 8:45am
          Joseph said | July 23rd 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

          Im sure you played rugby when you were younger Ruckin Oaf, but you comment like you’ve never played the game. NOTE: It is harder to defend with one less back than with one less forward!

          • July 23rd 2018 @ 6:05pm
            Ruckin Oaf said | July 23rd 2018 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

            Depends what your defending. Defensive scrums or line-outs are much harder missing a forward than a back.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm
        Drongo said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

        And didn’t Smith look average in defence in that 10 minute period. ‘Defensive liability’ comes to mind, eh foxy old mate.

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:44am
      bluffboy said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      As a Highlanders fan, very disappointed.
      Congratulations to the Tahs and fan base. The better team on the night won it’s that simple.

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 8:54am
        Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Well played Bluffboy.
        Sorry for Lima but thems the breaks.

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 8:57am
        taylorman said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Yes I thought this might happen. From an ABs fan a bit concerning with so many key and potential All Blacks in there and how the Highlanders form has been so flat lately.

        The fact that theyve had 124 or so points against them in the three previous games gave the Tahs the feeling they could cash in on their defence at any time, and they did, big time, in that short spell. The yellows only cemented that belief.

        The key ABs get a break and I think they need it.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 1:08pm
        Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        Still got to feel for the highlanders.Ending up with more points and playing in the NZ conference but giving away home ground advantage.I get the conference thing but to play against ref bias as well.And thats according to stats people like Peter K

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 2:15pm
          Big Dog said | July 22nd 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          And there it is…”ref bias” lol 😂

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 4:09pm
        Machooka said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

        Nicely said bluffboy… although, in saying that, I still reckon ya oysters are overrated 🙂

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 4:30pm
          Mapu said | July 22nd 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          Now that is worthy of a debate.

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