Fo­ley calls shots as Tahs’ romp leaves Queens­land Red-faced

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

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.

Pic­ture: AAP

Tahs star Is­rael Fo­lau snatches a high ball from Jay­den Nga­manu of the Reds to score a try at Sun­corp Sta­dium last night.

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