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Waratahs beat Blues in Super Rugby warm up

Kurtley Beale scored a try for the Waratahs

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Article Published: Friday 7 February 2014|

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The Waratahs secured their first win of the season when they beat the Blues 33-12 in a Super Rugby warm up match in Sydney.

The Waratahs have already played one Super Rugby warm up but lost that one 33-28 at Albury Sports Ground last weekend.

Fullback Kurtley Beale started the match at fullback in place of Israel Folau and scored his first Waratahs try in two years having been in Melbourne for the past two seasons.

The Waratahs start their Super Rugby season on February the 23rd when they face the Western Force.

The Blues also start with a local derby match against the Highlanders on February the 22nd.


NSW coach Michael Cheika labelled the five tries to two win a big improvement on last week.

"We wanted to practice more combinations and get more plays happening and we achieved that," he said.

Off the pace in the contact zone in last week's loss to the Rebels, the coach was pleased with the Waratahs' commitment. "We had to do some old school stuff to get it right and there's still a lot of hard work to be done."

The Tahs kicked off after losing the toss and three penalties in the space of three minutes had the home side camped on the Blues' line. But the visitors refused to buckle and resolute defence kept the Tahs at bay.

Scrumhalf Nick Phipps was held up over the line in the ninth minute, less than two minutes later the Tahs went wide and Kurtley Beale put NSW on the scoreboard. Flyhalf Bernard Foley converted to give NSW a 7-0 lead.

The Waratahs briefly lost hooker Tatafu Polota Nau at the end of the first quarter and although they had the run of play in the opening stanza, they went to the break up by just seven.

Polota Nau soon after and it took his side just four minutes to double their lead, with prop Paddy Ryan bursting clear for a 20 metre gallop before being pulled down just short. Two rucks later, 134kg lock Will Skelton charged over. Beale added the extras for the Tahs to skip ahead 14-0.

Back in NSW colours after two years at the Melbourne Rebels, Beale showed glimpse of the form that made him one of the games most exciting players. A chip and regather had the fans cheering even though it failed to produce points.

But Cheika was more than satisfied with Beale's input. "He's the one player that had to move from fullback to centre to flyhalf and he made it look easy. Defence is so good these days we must make something out of nothing and that's what Kurtley did."

The Blues were spasmodic in the first 40 minutes, occasionally they displayed the power and the pace that had critics claiming they could be a contenders but the first half belonged to the Waratahs.

Beale at fullback and flyhalf Foley combined well and the pack led by backrowers Dave Dennis and Wycliff Palu dominated the contact zone for the home side to lead comfortably by two converted tries at halftime.

NSW returned after the break with Wallabies Israel Folau, Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper on deck but it was the little-known winger Alofa Alofa that grabbed the fans' attention. Fast feet and a deceptive step saw him dance his way down the sideline before the Waratahs showed they can play the running game with quick hands for Foley to cross on the other side of the field. The try scorer converted for a comfortable 21-0 lead.

Flanker Jordan Manihera finally woke the Blues from their sleep, slipping past the Waratahs defence for a five-pointer.

The Blues were well and truly back in the game when Charles Piutau claimed the visitors' second try that had them trailing 21-12 at the 50-minute mark.

NSW lost new signing Tala Gray with a rib injury nearing the hour mark.

Veteran backrower Stephen Hoiles did his chances of securing a contract with the Tahs no harm when he crashed over for the Waratahs fourth try and a 26-12 lead.

"He's a different sort of a backrower, he's a good link man and a good lineout operator plus I like the idea of having different profiles in the squad," enthused the coach.

But the best was yet to come when Alofa, nicknamed bread, combined with Jonno Lance, Peter Betham and Foley for the try of the match. 45 metres out, six sets of hands and precision passing had Alofa diving over in the corner for a lead of 33-12, with just on 10 minutes left on the clock.

Bouncing up to get the final pass to score impressed the coach. "Getting off the ground and getting into position as quickly as possible shows he's hungry and he wants and opportunity."

Discovered in the Shute Shield, Cheika added, "It shows you how strong that competition is with the quality of players it delivers."

Blues' recruit Benji Marshall didn't have the best of nights at flyhalf but Cheika said, "Benji playing at 10 was no problem, he'll adjust more to the flow of the game and will make his presence felt during the season."

The NSW Waratahs will next week travel to Newcastle to face the Highlanders at Hunter Stadium on Friday February 14.

Final Score Waratahs 33 (14) Blues 12 (0)

Scorers

Waratahs
Tries - K. Beale, W. Skelton, B. Foley, S. Hoiles, A. Alofa
Pen -
Con - B. Foley 3, K.Beale.
Drop -

Blues
Tries - J. Manihera, C. Piutau
Pen -
Con - C. Noakes.
Drop -

Waratahs

1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood) , 2. Tatafu Polota Nau (Parramatta) , 3. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University) , 4. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts) , 5. Will Skelton (Sydney University) , 6. Dave Dennis (captain, Sydney University ) , 7. Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University) , 8. Wycliff Palu (Manly) , 9. Nick Phipps (TBC) , 10. Bernard Foley (Sydney University) , 11. Peter Betham (Sydney University) , 12. Jonno Lance (Eastern Suburbs) , 13. Rob Horne (Southern Districts) , 14. Matt Carraro (Randwick) , 15. Kurtley Beale (TBC)

Replacements : To be confirmed

Blues

1. Sam Prattley,2. James Parsons,3. Angus Ta'avao,4. Liaki Moli,5. Tom Donnelly,6. Kane Barrett,7. Luke Braid,8. Peter Saili,9. Bryn Hall,10. Benji Marshall,11. Tevita Li,12. Jackson Willison,13. George Moala,14. Frank Halai,15. Albert Nikoro,

Replacements :Greg Pleasants-Tate,Tom McCartney,Ofa Tu'ungafasi,William Lloyd,Patrick Tuipulotu,Jordan Manihera,Brendon O'Connor,Sonatane Takulua,Chris Noakes,Simon Hickey,Francis Saili,Lolagi Visinia,Baden Kerr,Charles Piutau

 
 
 
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