Super Rugby

Waratahs beat Highlanders in Sydney




The Waratahs have returned home from New Zealand where they came close to beating the Crusaders and this weekend they will play the Highlanders in Sydney.

The Waratahs played the Highlanders 22 times in Super Rugby since 1996 and they have won 13 matches and lost 9.

  • The Highlanders have won their last four games on the bounce against the Waratahs; they had never previously won consecutive games against the New South Wales club.
  • The Waratahs have crossed for four or more tries in five of their last six games against New Zealand opposition; however, they’ve not registered a win in that time (L6).
  • The Highlanders have won seven of their last eight games in Australia, including a 49-point win over the Force in their most recent visit – their biggest ever win in the country.
  • The Highlanders have scored 10 tries after holding possession for seven phases or more; only the Lions (11) have scored more tries from such extended possession.
  • Israel Folau has scored five tries in his last five games at home against New Zealand opposition, bagging two braces in that time.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Sydney.

3.00: Good start for the Waratahs. Kurtley Beale breaks into the 22 and sends Israel Folau away. The move breaks down when the ball is lost forward.

5.00: The Tahs get their rolling maul going and it works a treat. They continue with possession inside the Highlanders half before winning a penalty after the Highlanders do not roll away.

7.00: PENALTY! Bernard Foley goes past 850 points in Super Rugby.

8.00: The Highlanders are not committing men to the breakdown which is hampering them on defence, but not on attack.

9.00: The visitors are enjoying a long period of possession and are moving towards the Waratahs 22.

10.00: Aaron Smith is over for the try, but the TMO rules out the score because of a forward pass by Luke Whitelock to Ben Smith in the build-up.

12.00: Scrum to the Highlanders just outside their 22.

14.00: Foley combines with Sekope Kepu and Damien Fitzpatrick and is near the Highlanders goal-line.

15.00: TRY! Taqele Naiyaravoro collects Foley’s quick pass, beats a tackle, cuts inside Aaron Smith’s cover tackle and goes through Waisake Naholo to score. 8-0

16.00: MISS! Foley can’t add the sideline conversion.

18.00: Tevita Nabura is in trouble, he looks to have kicked Cam Clark in the face when contesting a high ball.

19.00: RED CARD! Nabura is sent off for dangerous and reckless play.

20.00: The Waratahs are using Beale and Folau expertly in the wide channels. The Kiwis are struggling to contain both Wallabies.

21.00: YELLOW CARD! Aaron Smith is sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knockdown. It is the right call because he stopped a line-break for the Aussies. 

22.00: The Highlanders are under the pump. The Waratahs are over the line but held up. They are awarded a penalty and opt for the scrum five metres out and against a backline with only five players.

24.00: TRY! Naiyaravoro for the double. Folau goes close but is well tackled short. The Tahs shift the play to the left and the winger beats Naholo’s tackle and performs an expert finish in the corner after evading Rob Thompson and Patelesio Tomkinson. 13-0

25.00: CONVERSION! Foley adds the touchline conversion to extend his side’s lead. 15-0

28.00: The Highlanders are camped on the Waratahs goal-line. Fitzpatrick is pinged for tackling the man without the ball. The visitors will scrum.

29.00: It goes to pot. Lima Sopoaga, playing halfback, throws a poor pass and the chance is gone as the Waratahs counter-attack.

31.00: Aaron Smith returns from the naughty step. The Highlanders did well not to concede more than the seven points, especially being down to 13.

33.00: The game has become disjointed with reset scrums and injuries. Scrum to Highlanders, still.

35.00: Another sloppy bit of play by the New Zealanders, who knocks on in another good attacking position.

38.00: Jake Gordon’s kicking has been poor at times. The halfback kicks the ball down the throat of Naholo, who starts a counter. Beale saves the day after stripping the ball from Aaron Smith, but it goes forward. Scrum to the Kiwis, just outside their 22.

39.00: Sopoaga sends Ben Smith away down the sideline, but his pass is well forward.

41.00: The Tahs attack from the scrum but the move is halted after a forward pass to Michael Hooper.

The halftime score was Waratahs 15 Highlanders 0

41.00: PEEEEP We are back underway in Sydney where the Waratahs are in control and look likely to be the first Australian team to beat a New Zealand side since May 2016.

42.00: Curtis Rona is over the whitewash, but he might have been held up by Elliot Dixon. The TMO rules that it is no try and a 5m scrum to the Tahs.

43.00: TRY! Izzy Folau takes Gordon’s long pass and speeds away to the corner for the score. 20-0

44.00: CONVERSION! Foley adds another touchline kick. 22-0

45.00: TRY! Ben Smith puts in a wonderful cross-kick to an open Dixon, who catches the ball a la Ricky Ponting and is over for the score. 22-5

47.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga adds the extras and becomes the 15th player to score 800 points in Super Rugby. 22-7

49.00: Penalty to the Tahs, who are camped inside the Highlanders 22, and they kick to the corner.

51.00: The Highlanders cleared the danger for the time-being but the Tahs come again.

53.00: Massive maul from the Waratahs, they bulldoze the visitors and crash over for the score. Wait. No try! it’s obstruction by Kepu. The Highlanders got out of jail, there.

55.00: TRY! Izzy Folau is in for his 50th Super rugby try, the third quickest to the landmark in his 83rd game. Only Joe Roff and christen Cullen were faster in 67 and 75 matches, respectively. It came from Kepu’s offload to Beale, who loops to Foley before he puts the flyer away – a wonderful sweeping move by the hosts. 27-7

57.00: CONVERSION! Foley puts the game away with another two. 29-7

58.00: TRY! Ash Dixon crashes over the whitewash after a superb driving maul by the Otago pack. 29-12

60.00: MISS! Sopoaga pulls his kick past the left-hand upright. 29-12

61.00: Nick Phipps snipes around the ruck and is over for his 19th Super Rugby five-pointer. However, the scrumhalf knocked on in the act of grounding, so no try. The Tahs went several phases before the halfback dotted down. They do get the penalty for offsides.

64.00: The front rows are being changed which is the reason for the delay.

65.00: TRY! Lalakai Foketi, off the bench, collects Foley’s short offload and ends the Highlanders resistance: game over! 34.12

66.00: CONVERSION! Foley adds another two. 36-12

68.00: TRY! Curtis Rona is over in the corner after some great work by Phipps, who drew two defenders and set up the score with an offload to Foketi. The substitute sends the centre away for the try. 41-12

69.00: MISS! Foley misses a rare kick, but it doesn’t matter at this stage. 41-12

73.00: The Highlanders are inside the Tahs 22, going through the phases and looking for the whitewash.

78.00: The game is almost over for the Tahs.

80.00: It’s been 722 days since the last defeat of an Aussie side over a Kiwi franchise.


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

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The final score: Waratahs 41 (15) Highlanders 12 (0)


Tries – Naiyaravoro (2), Folau (2), Foketi, Rona
Pen – Foley
Con – Foley (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – E. Dixon, A. Dixon
Pen –
Con – Sopoaga
Drop –
Cards – Nabura (Red, 19′), A. Smith (Yellow, 21′)

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub



15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (Captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty


15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Tevita Li.

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