Tahs must hope something strange happens
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