Super Rugby

Waratahs beat Highlanders in Sydney




The Waratahs are the only remaining Australian team in Super Rugby and they host the Highlanders in Sydney this Saturday.

The Tahs and Landers have already met once this year in Sydney and that match was won 41-12 by the Australians.

  • The Waratahs 41-12 victory was their biggest ever win against the Highlanders, snapping a four-game losing streak against the Dunedin outfit.
  • The New South Wales squad have won four of their last five finals games played on home soil; however, their only defeat in that span came in 2015 against the Highlanders.
  • The Highlanders have won eight of their last 10 games played in Australia, including wins in their only two previous finals game in the country.
  • The Waratahs average 35 points per game this season, the most of any team; however, they’ve scored 35+ points in just one of their last 11 games against New Zealand opposition, which was also their only win in that span.
  • Tevita Li has crossed for a try in each of his last two games against Australian opposition and has scored three tries in his last four games overall.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Sydney.

4.00: PENALTY! Bernard Foley puts his team ahead. 3-0

6.00: It’s the Highlanders who win the penalty, and they too will take a shot at goal.

7.00: PENALTY! Lima Sopoaga levels. 3-all

8.00: Great work from Michael Wells, winning the penalty at the breakdown. Foley opts for another shot.

9.00: PENALTY! Foley makes no mistake from wide. 6-3

11.00: TRY! Waisake Naholo finishes off in the corner after a four-man lineout. The Highlanders got the mismatch in midfield after Curtis Rona shoots the line, creating an overlap out wide. It’s the winger’s seventh try in his seventh playoff game. 6-8

12.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga slots the sideline kick. 6-10

14.00: The home team have a scrum near halfway. It is reset.

17.00: The Kiwis opt for another short lineout, this time it’s a five-man set-piece. They feel they can suck in the Aussie defence before attacking the wide channels.

18.00: It worked. Liam Coltman wins the battle at the breakdown after Israel Folau was isolated. Sopoaga calls for the tee.

19.00: PENALTY! Sopoaga adds another three. 6-13

22.00: Foley intercepts inside the Landers’ 22. The Tahs spread the ball wide and are going through the phases, but they are pinged for holding. It’s James Lentjes winning the penalty at the ruck.

25.00: TRY! Rob Thompson is over after Sopoaga sucks in defenders. Thompson still had work to do, cutting inside the cover defence and speeding to the posts. 6-18

26.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga makes it a 13-point lead. 6-20

27.00: The Highlanders are carving up the Waratahs in the wide areas. Naholo and Ben Smith are running riot on the right wing.

29.00: The Australians are pinged for collapsing the maul. Sopoaga kicks to the 22.

31.00: The Kiwis go wide to the right, but Naholo cannot gather, losing the ball into touch. Lineout to the Tahs near their goal-line. They are under the pump.

32.00: Wells is down after getting his head in the wrong position attempting a tackle. He dropped after hitting his head on Luke Whitelock’s hip. He’s out.

32.00: The Stretcher is on the field, but Wells walks off.

33.00: Whitelock, Tom Franklin and Dillon Hunt are the leading tacklers in Super Rugby for the Otago outfit. Taqele Naiyaravoro collects Sopoaga’s grubber, but the Highlanders had the advantage after their scrum destroyed the Tahs.

34.00: PENALTY! Sopoaga adds to the scoreboard. 6-23

35.00: Oh dear! Folau throws a forward pass straight into touch. The Waratahs cannot wait for halftime.

36.00: Nick Phipps’ vision is rewarded when the visitors get pinged for hands in the ruck near their try line. The hosts opted for a scrum.

38.00: The Tahs lose the ball, concede a scrum, but have a lineout at halfway. They lose their throw, but the ball is gifted back after a forward pass by Sopoaga.

40.00: The Kiwis win the ball back after Foley’s kick is gathered by Ben Smith. Aaron Smith’s box-kick clears the danger.

41.00: Ben Smith hears the hooter and boots the ball into the stands.

The halftime score was Waratahs 6 Highlanders 23

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Australia.

42.00: Tolu Latu’s first throw into the lineout is picked off, giving the Highlanders easy possession.

43.00: Ned Hanigan’s late challenge on Sopoaga gifts the Kiwis a penalty in their 22.

45.00: Foley’s clearance takes the play to his 22. NSW under the pump.

47.00: Daniel Lienert-Brown takes Kurtley Beale late. The ref talks to both captains about the late hits, calling on them to be cut out.

49.00: Oh dear! Phipps kicks the ball into Hanigan and so the Highlanders will have a scrum inside the NSW 22. It’s all going wrong.

51.00: Naiyaravoro saves the day with a goal-line interception. The big man takes the play to halfway and the TAhs go wide. Some patient build-up play has them on the Otago 22.

52.00: YELLOW CARD! Naholo is off for 10 minutes because of a high tackle near his line. Foley kicks to the corner.

53.00: Another penalty goes against the visitors. Waratahs are on the charge.

54.00: TRY! Some magic by Beale, who shows-and-goes, steps off his right and offloads to Foley on his inside shoulder. The standoff dives over under the sticks. 11-23

55.00: CONVERSION! Foley converts his score. 13-23

56.00: It’s game on in Sydney; the hosts have 24 minutes to book a place in the semi-finals.

57.00: TRY! Izzy Folau slides over in the corner. Game on at Allianze. 18-23

58.00: CONVERSION! Foley reduces the gap to three. 20-23

60.00: Naholo’s yellow card has cost his side 14 points in six minutes. We are into the last quarter.

61.00: TRY! Folau ghosts through a gap, offloads to Phipps, who sends his skipper away for his second try. 25-23

62.00: CONVERSION! Foley converts his brace. 27-23

63.00: Naholo is back on but his sin-binning cost 21 points.

65.00: Superb work at the breakdown by the Tahs. They were under pressure but managed to win the penalty and clear to halfway.

67.00: An early push by the Highlanders pack gives the Waratahs a free-kick. Foley kicks a bomb which Naholo drops and the hosts are on the attack inside the opposition’s 22.

68.00: It’s carnage out there; the referee goes down, everybody is down. What a game!

69.00: The Waratahs get a penalty after Kalolo Tuiloma is pinged. It’s the sixth penalty against the visitors to one against the home team, this half.

71.00: PENALTY! Foley extends his side’s lead to seven. It’s the most points scored by the Wallaby in a game; he’s up to 25. 30-23

73.00: The Highlanders are on the Waratahs line. They’ve gone 15 phases. The ref calls for the TMO to check the grounding. A no try will lead to Paddy Ryan going to the bin for cynical play in an offside position.

74.00: YELLOW CARD! Ryan is off for the remainder of the game. Highlanders opt for a scrum.

76.00: Beale races out of the line and almost intercepts the ball, but he loses the ball forward. Scrum inside the 22 in centre field.

77.00: HUGE DEFENCE! The Tahs win the scrum after a Highlanders knock on.

78.00: Foley clears to about 30 metres out from his line.

79.00: another turnover at the ruck by for the home team. Foley kicks a bomb that is collected by Tevita Li. The visitors run the ball back but give away possession to their opponents.

80.00: Scrum to the hosts.

81.00: BIG SCRUM by the Highlanders, but Jake Gordon gets the ball out and clears into the stands. One of the greatest comebacks in the Waratahs’ history… Super Rugby history.

Game over.

In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.

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The final score is Waratahs 30 (6) Highlanders 23 (23)


Tries – Foley (2), Folau
Pen – Foley (3)
Con – Foley (3)
Drop –
Cards – Ryan (Yellow, 74′)

Tries – Naholo, Thompson
Pen – Sopoaga (3)
Con – Sopoaga (2)
Drop –
Cards – Naholo (Yellow, 52′)

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Will Houston
TMO: George Ayoub


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Cameron Clark, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes.

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