The Roar
The Roar


'Gutted': Edmed misses shot after siren as Tahs blow chance of going back-to-back against Kiwis for first time since 2015

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8th March, 2024
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The Waratahs made their return to Allianz Stadium hoping to make it consecutive wins against New Zealand opposition for the first time since 2015.

They finished the 80 minutes as they did after their first home game a little more than 12 months ago: frustrated and disappointed.

A missed penalty after the full time siren from Tane Edmed denied the home side of victory, as the fly-half, who led the Waratahs to a stunning win over the Crusaders a week ago, pushed his shot past the right-hand upright as the Highlanders held on 23-21 in Sydney.

The missed shot, his third of the evening, was yet another tough pill to swallow for the 13,553 fans, who once again saw their side lose at home.

Under pressure Waratahs coach Darren Coleman said he was “gutted” by the loss.

“If we’re going to challenge this year, we’ve got to win those games at home,” he said.

“It’s disappointing.”

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Tane Edmed missed a penalty after the stroke of full-time that would have given the Waratahs victory over the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium, on March 08, 2024, in Sydney. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Coleman, in particular, lamented a slow start to the second half.

“It died off after half time,” he said.

“I thought it was a really good battle and high quality first half, both teams had minimal errors and there were lots of big phases in play, but in the second half both teams were guilty of just some simple errors.

“I feel for Tane. He’s feeling pretty ordinary.”

Captain Jake Gordon rued their inability to take their chances.

“We started like we did last week and were powerful early, got clean ball. But second half we just couldn’t seem to, apart from the try, build any phases and were pretty scrappy at times too,” Gordon said.


“Both teams put a heap of pressure on the ball but it was more our ball control in that second half. Every time we got ourselves in a ghood position we seemed to turn it over way too easy.

“At points in the game we looked sharp but we weren’t sharp enough.

“There were points in that second half where we were under the pump, but we played at the right ends of the field and had an opportunity there to win it. It’s always tough on Tane those ones, but we were definitely a chance to win that game.”

Tanielu Tele’a of the Highlanders celebrates scoring what proved to be the match-winning try against the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium, on March 08, 2024, in Sydney. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The loss was also a painful blow for Coleman, who is needing to convince the NSW Rugby board that he is the right man to take the team forward.

Nor does it get any easier for the Waratahs, with Coleman’s men to take on the Blues who are trying to make it three on the trot against the Hurricanes on Saturday. They should regain the services of Lachie Swinton for the clash, while incumbent Wallabies captain Dave Porecki is still a couple of weeks away.

Mahe Vailanu, Ned Hanigan and Izaia Perese were amongst the Waratahs’ best, while Teddy Wilson’s cameo was all to brief after being injected in the final minutes.


Once again, Timoci Tavatavanawai proved to be a thorn in the backside for the Waratahs.

After playing a crucial role in Moana Pasifika’s boilover win over the Waratahs in the last round of the regular season last year, the powerful winger was dangerous with ball-in-hand and lethal over it.

Enforcer Hugh Renton was also amongst his side’s best, while halves Folau Fakatawa and Rhys Patchell, who scored the opening try after some fine work to keep the ball alive by his halfback, kept the Waratahs defence guessing.

The match turning moment came in the 65th minute, as Tanielu Tele’a tossed away Triston Reilly and bumped off Joey Walton out wide to score.

Up until that point, the match, save for a few spectacular tries, had been a grind with handling proving tricky in the sticky conditions and referee Damon Murphy whistle happy at the breakdown.

The Highlanders raced out to a 10-0 start after five minutes, as Sam Gilbert knocked over a second minute penalty before Welsh international Patchell scored under the sticks.


After missing a straight forward penalty, Edmed responded by banging over consecutive penalties to narrow the margin to 10-6 after 24 minutes.

A stunning try to Perese, who ran onto a chip kick from Mark Nawaqanitawase gave the Waratahs a narrow 13-10 lead at the half-hour mark.

But it didn’t last long as the Waratahs lost another kick restart battle, with fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens proving an annoyance for Jorgensen and Nawaqanitawase. It resulted in another three to the Highlanders.

After blowing a couple of opportunities near the Highlanders’ line, as Langi Gleeson’s fumbles returned, the Waratahs got a reprieve and went into the sheds leading 16-13 after the visitors failed to roll away again.

It took until the 58th minute for the first points of the second half to be notched, as Gilbert collected another three.

The Waratahs looked done when Tele’a scored after Max Jorgensen dropped a simple intercept centre field and the home side couldn’t bring down the powerful outside centre.


But Jorgensen’s try two minutes later, as Reilly split the Highlanders’ defence second phase from a lineout gave them some late hope.

Hope looked like turning into a late win, but Edmed’s kick just missed leaving the Waratahs ruing what could have been.

In other news, Will Harrison, the injury-plagued utility back, who was included in Dave Rennie’s first Wallabies squad in 2020, will make his comeback on Saturday after a wretched run of luck.