Waratahs

Waratahs Rally But Fall Short Against Highlanders

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Three tries inside the last fourteen minutes were not enough to save the HSBC Waratahs from defeat against the Highlanders at Aussie Stadium, the home side going down 26 points to 25 after trailing by as much as 20 points during the second half.


The Waratahs were let down by their slow start, which allowed the Highlanders to run in three unanswered tries to head into half time ahead 20 points to six.


Two penalty goals immediately after the break from man of the match Nick Evans looked to have wrapped it up for the visitors, however to their credit the Waratahs refused to give up the fight.


The late rally was a long time coming for the home side, Josh Holmes scoring the Waratahs first five pointer in the 66th minute of play.


That was followed by two quick fire Peter Hewat five pointers, the fullback finishing with 20 points for the night after adding ten points with the boot.


Unfortunately for Hewat his last kick, a sideline conversion attempt with 90 seconds left on the clock, went wide, consigning the Waratahs to an agonising one point defeat.


The match started badly for the Waratahs, who skewed one pass deep in their 22 and then had an attempted clearance charged down inside the first two minutes of play.


The Highlanders attacked from the 22 restart that followed Tom Donnelly’s charge down, and a matter of phases later they had their first try.


Putting the ball on the ground and in behind the defensive line, the Highlanders got their just reward with Viliame Waqaseduadua touching down to make it five nil to the visitors after three minutes.


Two Hewat penalty goals spearheaded a mini Waratah revival and saw them lead 6-5 approaching the half hour mark, however the match would soon turn sour on two pieces of well directed Highlanders attack.


The first came about as a result an excellent running line from Evans, who turned the Waratah defence inside out before angling in to score midway between the posts and the sideline.


While the flyhalf was enjoying a good night with ball in hand his kicking was uncharacteristically off, missing with his second straight conversion attempt.


Kicking woes would soon be forgotten when the Highlanders attack caught the Waratahs in two minds yet again, outside centre Jason Kawau scoring under the posts five minutes out from the break.


This time Evans had no problem, kicking the Highlanders out to a 20-6 half time lead.


The insertion of Wycliff Palu off the bench provided the spark for the Waratahs comeback, making the vital break that led to Holmes’ try.


The Waratahs then had what remained of the crowd of 17,672 on their feet as Hewat scored his two tries to narrow the gap to one point, which is where the score would finish at 26-25.


The Waratahs were well served by Holmes, Lote Tuqiri, Lachie Turner, and Rocky Elsom, while the bench ‘ containing debutants Chris Siale and Nathan Sievert ‘ also gave the team much needed momentum late in the second half.


Next week the Waratahs play host to the resurgent Chiefs on Friday at Aussie Stadium, before wrapping up their season with an away clash with the Hurricanes on May 5.


HSBC WARATAHS 25



Tries: Peter Hewat 2, Josh Holmes


Conversions: Peter Hewat 2/3


Penalty Goals: Peter Hewat 1/1


HIGHLANDERS 26



Tries: Viliame Waqaseduadua, Nick Evans, Jason Kawau


Conversions: Nick Evans 1/3


Penalty Goals: Nick Evans 3/4


At Aussie Stadium, Sydney



Crowd: 17,672


Man of the Match: Nick Evans (Highlanders)


Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)

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