Waratahs

Waratahs score bonus point win over Blues

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The HSBC Waratahs capped off a night of celebration with a convincing 37-16 victory over the third-placed Blues in their Super 14 encounter tonight at the Sydney Football Stadium.



On a night when David Lyons made his 100th appearance for NSW and Lote Tuqiri went to the top of the Waratahs Super Rugby try-scoring list, the home side had the 26,986-strong crowd on their feet regularly throughout the match.



Despite losing Wallaby flanker Rocky Elsom on the eve of the week eight clash, the Waratahs pulled off a fantastic all-round performance, running in five tries to two against one of the most dangerous sides in the competition.



The forwards laid the platform for the match, and it was only fitting they scored four of the Waratahs five tries on the way to just their second bonus point of the season.



Nick Evans opened the scoring with a penalty in the fourth minute, however sustained pressure eventually saw Benn Robinson cross for the first try of the match.



After some great lead up work which kept the Blues’ close-in defence under the pump, Robinson crashed over for just his second Super Rugby try in 31 appearances.



The Blues continued to play attractive Rugby and continually put the Waratahs defence under pressure, turning them round on numerous occasions, and it was this tactic that led to them taking back the lead.



A deft kick behind the line by Evans had Rokocoko charging down, and when Lachie Turner fumbled the ball on his own line Troy Flavell pounced for an 8-5 lead.



Kurtley Beale tied the game up in the 26th minute, but when Keven Mealamu was yellow carded for the Blues’ repeated infringements at the breakdown, the complexion of the match changed.



Kurtley Beale kicked another penalty in the 36th minute, and then the unlikely figure of Tatafu Polota-Nau had the crowd on its feet when he outsprinted the cover defence over 35m to score a great turnover try in the shadows of half time.



As the siren approached, Mealamu returned to the field, however the damage had been done with 10 unanswered points scored while he was off and NSW headed to the break with an 18-8 advantage.



Evans brought the Blues back to within a converted try in the 52nd minute but the Waratahs weren’t about to let the visitors back into the match.



Great lead up work was soon rewarded when Tuqiri went close on first phase ball, then Wycliff Palu dived over close to the posts in the 59th minute.



Benson Stanley scored for the Blues soon after, but Evans missed conversion attempt saw the Waratahs still out by more than a converted try buffer, 25-16 in front going into the last 15 minutes.



The Waratahs were not content with defending the lead, and some brilliant lead up work led to what may have been the Waratahs’ best constructed try of the season.

 

With the defence on the back foot, Lote Tuqiri straightened onto a Sam Norton-Knight inside ball to score his 25th Super Rugby try, surpassing the record he had shared with Matt Burke since the week four clash with the Brumbies.


Tuqiri’s try was the Waratahs’ fourth for the night, earning NSW just their second bonus point of the season.



The celebrations were not over though, and when Adam Freier broke clear in the final minute of play it looked like both hookers may have ended up on the scoresheet with long range efforts.



In the end though the play was finished off by Dean Mumm who scored out wide, capping off a solid performance after being asked to fill the big shoes of Rocky Elsom late in the week.



Beale’s sideline conversion was the icing on the cake for the Waratahs, who preserved their perfect home record for 2008 with a 37-16 win.



Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh was named the HSBC Man of the Match, just edging out Tatafu Poloa-Nau, Benn Robinson, Wycliff Palu and scrumhalf Luke Burgess who repaid Ewen McKenzie’s faith with a fantastic performance in the No.9 jersey.



The Waratahs try-scoring efforts tonight added another $3000 to their fundraising effort for HSBCkids. The first three tries netted $500 each, however with the fourth try worth $1000, the tally has now reached $10,000.




HSBC Waratahs 37
Tries: Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Wycliff Palu, Lote Tuqiri, Dean Mumm


Conversions: Kurtley Beale 3/5
Penalty Goals: Kurtley Beale 2/2
Drop Goals: Sam Norton-Knight 0/1

Blues 16


Tries: Troy Flavell, Benson Stanley
Conversions: Nick Evans 0/2
Penalty Goals: Nick Evans 2/3


By the clock


4th ‘ Nick Evans penalty. HSBC Waratahs 0 Blues 3
17th ‘ Benn Robinson try; Kurtley Beale missed conversion. HSBC Waratahs 5 Blues 3
20th ‘ Troy Flavell try; Nick Evans missed conversion. HSBC Waratahs 5 Blues 8
26th ‘ Kurtley Beale penalty goal. HSBC Waratahs 8 Blues 8
30th ‘ Keven Mealamu yellow card.
34th ‘ Kurtley Beale penalty goal. HSBC Waratahs 11 Blues 8
39th ‘ Tatafu Polota-Nau try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 18 Blues 8


Half Time ‘ HSBC Waratahs 18 Blues 8



49th ‘ Nick Evans missed penalty.
52nd ‘ Nick Evans penalty. HSBC Waratahs 18 Blues 11
55th ‘ Sam Norton-Knight missed dropped goal.
59th ‘ Wycliff Palu try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 25 Blues 11
64th ‘ Benson Stanley try; Nick Evans missed conversion. HSBC Waratahs 25 Blues 16
68th ‘ Lote Tuqiri try; Kurtley Beale missed conversion. HSBC Waratahs 30 Blues 16
80th ‘ Dean Mumm try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 37 Blues 16


Full Time ‘ HSBC Waratahs 37 Blues 16

 

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