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Naiyaravoro powers Waratahs to victory over Brumbies

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The Waratahs edged the Brumbies 17-24 in a tight-fought contest at GIO Stadium, Canberra.

Taqele Naiyaravoro scored twice in three minutes, either side of half-time for the Waratahs, cancelling out Lausii Taliauli’s 26th-minute try.

The Waratahs had never scored more than two tries in Canberra and that remains the case.

Naiyaravolo’s double, and Bernard Foley’s – erratic – boot, saw them home.

This was only the fourth victory against the Brumbies in Canberra for the Sydney franchise, and they had to do it without Israel Folau, who limped off after five minutes.

David Pocock returned for his 100th Super Rugby cap, following a 12-month sabbatical from Australian rugby.

Despite his superb display, he could help his side to victory in the Australian derby.

Israel Folau limps off, early.

The Sydney side had only ever tasted victory three times in the Australian Capital Territory.

And it did not start well when the attacking threat that is Folau, left the field with a leg injury, which appeared to be a hamstring.

Wharenui Hawera and Bernard Foley traded penalties before Taliauli broke the deadlock. It all came from some quick-ball at the breakdown.

Joe Powell went left Hawera, who put in a little grubber behind the Waratahs’ defensive line and it was Taliauli who beat the cover defence to the ball.

The game was scrappy; both team’s set-piece was poor, and the handling was killing almost every attack, as the game was played between the two 22s.

Pocock was pilfering at the breakdown, winning a couple of turnovers. It was a late turnover, before the break, that changed the game.

Naiyaravolo at the double.

The winger carried 10 times for 107 metres, the most by any player, and he beat four defenders on his way to another brace.

His first try came out of nothing.

A long pass from Kurtley Beale to prop Sekope Kepu took out the Brumbies’ midfield defenders.

Foley and Curtis Rona’s quick hands helped send the winger away.

Naiyaravoro rounded Speight on the outside and galloped away to score after the hooter.

Foley’s touchline conversion gave the visitors a two-point lead at the interval.

Three minutes after the restart, Naiyaravolo had his second.

Andy Muirhead knocked on a routine high-ball, gifting the Waratahs an attacking scrum inside the Brumbies’ 22.

Foley and Alex Newsome combined with a wonderful offload and wrap-around, sending Newsome through a gap.

Naiyaravolo hugged the touchline, waiting for Newsome to draw his man, which he did, before a sublime offload on his inside, set up the wing for another.

From leading by five, the home team were suddenly 11-18 down.

Kicking duel.

It would have been a bigger deficit had Foley had his kicking boots on.

The Wallaby standoff came into the game with a 96 percent kicking accuracy, but he missed three penalties and a conversion.

Hawera reduced the gap to four in the 49th-minute with his third penalty.

With handling errors mounting and tries at a premium, the game would be won at the breakdown, and from the kicking tee.

Foley and Hawera traded two more penalties

The Brumbies’ standoff’s 71st-minute 50-metre bomb, kept his team with four points at 17-21.

However, the hosts could not find the whitewash and were gifting Foley easy attempts at goal.

Foley increased the lead back to a converted try, late in the game, but the Brumbies had another two shots at tying the match.

Two driving mauls in the dying minutes were halted by the Waratahs, who hung on for a rare victory in the Bush Capital.

Final score: Brumbies 17 (11) Waratahs 24 (13)

Scorers

Brumbies
Tries – Taliauli
Pen – Hawera (4)
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Waratahs
Tries – Naiyaravoro (2)
Pen – Foley (4)
Con – Foley
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: James Leckie
Assistant Ref 2: 

TMO: Damien Mitchelmore

Teams

Brumbies

15 Andy Muirhead, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio

Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Mees Erasmus, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Tom Banks.

Waratahs

15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Michael Wells, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hannigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Alex Newsome.

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