Foley calls shots as Tahs’ romp leaves Queensland Red-faced
BERNARD Foley pulled the strings and Israel Folau scored twice for the Waratahs in their record Super Rugby defeat of Queensland last night.
It was the Waratahs’ highest total against an Australian outfit, the most points scored in any Australian derby and the Reds’ highest losing score.
The Suncorp Stadium victory propelled the Waratahs back to the top of the Australian conference, after the Melbourne Rebels had briefly assumed top spot with their upset of the Blues earlier in the day in New Zealand. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was in the stands as 15 Australian squad members pushed their cases for a berth next Saturday’s Test against Ireland.
Both teams traded tries in the first half but the Tahs shot away early in the second stanza, with Folau pouncing on a risky Reds chip and chase for a 40-19 lead with 30 minutes to play.
Tries to Alex Mafi and Wallabies hopeful Caleb Timu, who provided immediate impact off the bench for the Reds, provided hope for the 14,452-strong crowd.
But Hamish Stewart’s wayward kicking (two from seven) didn’t help and Jake Gordon’s 63rd-minute try iced the Tahs’ triumph.
Earlier, Folau had flown above the pack for a trademark try from a cross-field bomb to complete a manic seven-try first half.
“We knew we had an advantage with Israel and his aerial ability,” said NSW coach Daryl Gibson, who described the high-scoring game as bewildering. “It’s become a real weapon for us.” The action started with a Scott
Higginbotham intercept — the No. 8 denying NSW a likely try and creating one for his side when he popped a pass to winger Izaia Perese.
Reds big men Higginbotham and Taniela Tupou powered over from close range, while Tahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro skipped out of three tackles for a five- pointer of his own.
Queensland’s scrum was again dominant and Wallaby Samu Kerevi did his best to set the tone defensively, coming out of the line to put two big hits on his opposite.
But they were unable to stop the visitors’ steady flow of points, with Foley kicking truly (six from seven) and threatening every time he directed play to the Reds’ right flank.
Promoted to the starting side, Reds halfback Moses Sorovi was enterprising. But Folau’s flying effort gave NSW a 28-19 edge they managed to maintain.
Reds coach Brad Thorn spoke positively but conceded soft tries and Folau’s brilliance were the difference.
“Sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap and say, ‘you are very good’,” Thorn said.
Tahs star Israel Folau snatches a high ball from Jayden Ngamanu of the Reds to score a try at Suncorp Stadium last night.