Tahs must hope some­thing strange hap­pens

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

THE WARATAHS emerged from their 34-28 loss against the Blues in Eden Park yes­ter­day with a bonus point to keep their slim play­offs hopes alive in Su­per Rugby.

The bonus point, for los­ing by less than eight points, put the Waratahs on top of the Aus­tralian con­fer­ence for at least a day, but the Brumbies can take it back and win the play­off spot with vic­tory over the lowly Force to­day.

The Blues were al­ready out of con­tention for the post-sea­son but in­side cen­tre Piers Fran­cis blew a chance to elim­i­nate the Waratahs by failing to con­vert the win­ning try to re­place­ment wing Ge­orge Moala.

The Waratahs had four tries but failed to con­sol­i­date their gains and sur­ren­dered the match far­ci­cally when fly­half Bernard Fo­ley’s fi­nal restart kick failed to travel the re­quired dis­tance.

“We just put the pres­sure on our­selves so poorly,” Waratahs cap­tain Michael Hooper,

said pitch­side. “Stranger things have hap­pened so we’ll wait and see with the re­sult to­mor­row.”

The Waratahs for­wards out­mus­cled their op­po­nents in the scrums to win a penalty try in each half, while cen­tre Is­rael Fo­lau and re­place­ment prop An­gus Ta’avao touched down in the sec­ond half to keep the vis­i­tors in touch.

But Moala jogged over with­out pres­sure in the 76th minute to seal the win as the Blues, the only New Zealand team to miss the post-sea­son, fin­ished their sea­son on a high note.

The home side won their own penalty try in the first half from a collapsed maul and had fur­ther five-point­ers from lock Pa­trick Tuip­u­lotu, full­back Me­lani Nanai and Fran­cis.

Fran­cis’ 48th minute try came af­ter a bril­liant jink­ing run in which he evaded four de­fend­ers and the mid­fielder added an­other nine points with his boot.

Mean­while, loose for­ward Sean McMa­hon scored two tries and set up a third to help the Rebels stave off a late Reds come­back in a tense 31- 28 bat­tle. – Reuters

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