The Waratahs have played the Force 18 times in Super Rugby since 2006, the Waratahs have won 11 matches, lost six times and drawn once.
The Waratahs’ 11 wins out of 18 matches gives them a record of winning 61% of their matches against the Force regardless of venue.
- The Western Force have won four of their last six Super Rugby games against the NSW Waratahs, including a 40-11 triumph in their last meeting (Rd 17, 2017).
- NSW have lost their last four consecutive Super Rugby games against fellow Australian opponents; a fifth consecutive defeat would mark their longest ever losing streak against their countrymen.
- The Force are set to compete in their 13th Super Rugby campaign; only once in their last 12 appearances in the tournament have they opened their season with a win (def. NSW 25-13 in 2015).
- The Perth-based side has scored the opening try of the game in five of their last six Super Rugby games against the Tahs, including a try to Alex Newsome after just 49 seconds in their most recent encounter in July 2017.
- Michael Hooper (Waratahs) has made 10+ carries and 10+ tackles in each of his last two Super Rugby games; the last and only previous time he managed to do so in more consecutive games for the NSW was a three-game stretch in March 2015.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Sydney.
3.00: The Tahs win the penalty and kick to the corner.
5.00: The Waratahs take the ball back over their goal-line – scrum, five to the Force.
7.00: Michael Hooper wins the turnover, he looked offsides but the ref never called it, and the Tahs clear.
9.00: The Force have started well, they are making an effort to punch through the tight, while also looking to go wide when the chance is there.
11.00: Lineout to the visitors inside the Tahs’ half. It’s a bit sloppy, and the Force lose ground. Ian Prior clears with a box-kick.
13.00: SKEW THROW! Feleti Kaitu’u’s put-in is wayward. Scrum to the Tahs.
14.00: PENALTY! Prior puts the Western Force on the board. 0-3
16.00: The game is being played at a slow pace, not sure Rob Penney will be too happy with his team’s tempo, so far.
17.00: Big scrum by the visitors, winning the scrum-penalty after smashing the Tahs’ pack.
19.00: The Force botch their good attacking platform, but they get the pill back after a kicking duel by both teams.
21.00: Jono Lance’s forward pass to Jack McGregor is seen by Angus Gardner. Scrum to the hosts near halfway. Reset.
23.00: The Force have had the bulk of possession (61%) and territory (67%), but they concede a scrum-penalty, this time. The Waratahs go to the back of the lineout to Hooper, who charges to the 22.
24.00: Jack Maddocks makes a break, but his inside pass is intercepted by the Force, who clear.
25.00: Robbie Abel’s throw is too high, leading to a scrum to the visitors near the home team’s 22.
27.00: A massive clearance by Maddocks, who clears his lines. The Force have the ball on halfway. Still, 3-0 to the visitors as we approach the half-hour.
28.00: We have a goal-line drop-out after Lance’s kick rolled into the Waratahs’ in-goal area.
29.00: TRY! Byron Ralston gets his first Super Rugby try, on debut, after beating Will Harrison’s weak tackle. The winger took Henry Stowers’ delayed pass to beat the standoff and score in the corner. 0-8
31.00: MISS! The conversion is missed. 0-8
32.00: The Force win a penalty at the ruck, and will take a shot at goal.
33.00: PENALTY! Prior lands the kick to open up a decent lead. 0-11
35.00: James Ramm takes out a man in the air and gives away another penalty. This is poor from the Waratahs. Prior calls for the tee.
37.00: PENALTY! The skipper adds another three. 0-14
39.00: The Tahs win a penalty, but don’t take a shot; instead, they go quickly, winning another penalty-advantage. Rob Simmons opts for a lineout.
40.00: TRY! The Waratahs batter away at the line before Angus Bell dives over the whitewash for his second try of the season. The Tahs’ driving maul was good, the pick-and-goes, too. The Force just ran out of defenders. 5-14
42.00: CONVERSION! Harrison’s kick is down the middle. 7-14
The halftime score was Waratahs 7 Western Force 14
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Sydney.
44.00: It’s all New South Wales; they have started strong, and are inside the Force’s 22.
45.00: Nick Jooste intercepts a long pass, but the Tahs had the penalty-advantage, so retain possession. They opt for the easy three points.
46.00: PENALTY! Harrison puts his team into double figures. 10-14
48.00: The Tahs are on the march, they have had all the ball since the start; however, the Force win a penalty at the breakdown to relieve the pressure.
50.00: The Force turnover the ball inside the opposition’s 22. The Tahs boot the ball down the field, win possession, but are pinged at the ruck.
52.00: Hooper cleans up a skew throw from the Force – scrum to the hosts in the opposition’s half, about 35 metres out.
53.00: After two resets, the ref awards the home team a penalty, which they kick to the corner.
54.00: Terrific work by the visitors to win back possession before clearing the danger.
57.00: The game has lost a bit of the momentum since the benches got emptied. The Force seems to have the upper hand in the scrums, now. Waratahs have been sloppy with ball-in-hand, especially in the red zone.
59.00: NSW kicks a beast of a penalty to the Force’s 22.
60.00: Andrew Ready plays Hooper without the ball and gives the Tahs a kickable penalty from close-range and in front.
61.00: PENALTY! Harrison makes it a one-point game going into the final quarter. 13-14
62.00: TRY! Tom Staniforth crashes over under the posts. 18-14
63.00: CONVERSION! Harrison adds the extras. 20-14
66.00: The Force is still in this, but a mistake, kicking the ball out on the full gives the Tahs possession.
69.00: It’s all Tahs at the moment, they have all the ball.
72.00: The Force concede a penalty under their poles. Harrison will take the points.
74.00: PENALTY! Harrison extends the lead to two scores. 23-14
76.00: WOW! Another 50-22 goes the way of the home team.
78.00: 22 drop-out for the Force. They have a minute or so to claim a losing bonus-point.
81.00: The hooter sounds, Lance decides to end the game by booting the ball into touch.
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The final score is Waratahs 23 (7) Western Force 14 (14)
Tries – Bell, Staniforth
Pen – Harrison (3)
Con – Harrison (2)
Tries – Ralston
Pen – Prior (3)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Amy Perrett
Assistant Ref 2: James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie
15 Jack Maddocks, 14 James Ramm, 13 Alex Newsome, 12 Joey Walton, 11 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Mitch Short, 8 Will Harris, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Angus Bell
Replacements: 16 Tom Horton, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Tom Staniforth, 19 Jack Demspey, 20 Michael McDonald, 21 Ben Donaldson, 22 Karmichael Hunt
15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Nick Jooste, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Tevin Ferris, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Angus Wagner
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callen, 21 Jacob Abel, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Kyle Godwin