ESPN SCRUM

/ Super Rugby 2014

/ Match Pack

Super Rugby
Waratahs put Highlanders to sword
ESPN Staff
July 6, 2014
Report Match details
Date/Time: Jul 6, 2014, 16:05 local, 06:05 GMT
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders
Half-time: 11 - 9
Tries: Folau, Horne, Kepu, Naiyaravoro, Phipps, Potgieter
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2
Tries: Burleigh
Cons: Parker
Pens: Sopoaga 3
New South Wales Waratahs' Israel Folau scores a try, New South Wales Waratahs v Highlanders, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, July 6, 2014
Israel Folau scored his 12th try of the season
© Getty Images
Enlarge

New South Wales Waratahs have locked up top spot on the Super Rugby ladder, and home-field advantage through the finals, with a dominant bonus-point victory over the Highlanders at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday.

The Waratahs produced a precise and powerful performance in the second half, displaying all the hallmarks of prospective champions with Kurtley Beale influential at second five-eighth behind a rampaging pack, scoring tries through talismanic fullback Israel Folau, prop Sekope Kepu livewire scrum-half Nick Phipps, powerful lock Jacques Potgieter and rookie winger Taqele Naiyaravoro as they claimed a franchise-record sixth consecutive victory.

Waratahs 44-16 Highlanders (Australia only)

Folau iced a first-phase attack from a scrum after a rare error from Ben Smith, accepting a short ball back inside from Beale to power over the line, and the playmaker was involved in Kepu's try before Alofa Alofa offloaded out of the back of the hand to the rampaging prop. Phipps then crossed in the right corner after a powerful drive from Wycliff Palu at the back of an attacking scrum, and Potgieter strolled over untouched after a length-of-the-field break from inside the Tahs' 22, this time from Alofa. Naiyaravoro iced the Waratahs' performance, and sent to crowd home in delirious raptures, when he powered through Hayden Parker to score his maiden Super Rugby try just before full-time.

If the Waratahs claimed their record victory over the Highlanders, the visitors still in contention for the finals despite their shellacking, the romp did not seem likely when the hosts led by just two points at half-time, after Rob Horne had touched down a length-of-the-field break from a scrum inside their own 22; the Highlanders had them going backwards at the set-piece, but Palu produced a trademark bust from the back and the Tahs took the ball downfield through Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Folau and Stephen Hoiles before a lovely ball from Michael Hooper put Horne into space to stroll over the line.

Rob Horne scored the first of the Waratahs' six tries © Getty Images
Enlarge
New South Wales Waratahs' Taqele Naiyaravoro runs through the Highlanders defence, New South Wales Waratahs v Highlanders, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, July 6, 2014
New South Wales Waratahs' Taqele Naiyaravoro ran through Hayden Parker to score his first Super Rugby try © Getty Images
Enlarge

That the Waratahs ran away from their opponents in the second half was due as much to their defence as their precise attack and potent counters, their trademark efforts without the ball restricting the Highlanders to bit-part roles - with the visitors' star fullback, Ben Smith, sighted only once with ball in hand in a dangerous position. Phil Burleigh scored the Highlanders' only try of the game inside the final 10 minutes, from a turnover, when he chipped over the top and chased to touch down for his second score of the season.

Waratahs captain Hooper lauded his team's all-round performance, saying "we spoke before the game that we wanted it to be hard to choose a man of the match ... and everyone did their job".

"Six tries to one," he said, "can't complain. We spoke at half-time that our forwards needed to step up, and they did a good job: tough carries, tough defence, and that's what's going to be our game going into the finals."

Hooper said the Waratahs weren't looking at the finals, however, saying the play-offs were "a long way away".

"The Reds will be solid next week" in the final round of the home-and-away season "and we've got to keep momentum going into the finals," he said.

Cheika warns Tahs of finals furnace (video available in Australia only)
%]

Cheika was pleased with the response to his message at half-time, saying: "I like the way we played in the second half. We got caught up with a bit of Sunday footy in the first half - throwing it around a bit - but in the second half we knuckled down to be a bit more physical with the ball."

Cheika said, however, that his players would have to increase their mental intensity through the coming final campaign. "Finals football is mental, you have to have your game ready but also have the mental part right ... it's turned up about 10 notches and you have to be ready for that. There are teams that are going to be coming to the finals with a lot more experience of finals than us ... we have to keep playing our footy and keep enjoying ourselves and see what happens."

Highlanders co-captain Nasi Manu said the visitors "lacked execution ... but we've still got a chance of the play-offs and we've got a game against the Crusaders next week".

New South Wales Waratahs' Jacques Potgieter celebrates scoring a try © Getty Images
Enlarge
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Australian GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Boxing - Frampton v Avalos
    Boxing - Fury v Hammer
    Boxing - Eubank v Chudinov
    Golf - Joburg Open
    Golf - Honda Classic
    Tennis - Dubai Championships
    Tennis - Mexican Open
  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Football

    Rodgers changes his stance on Europa League

    Liverpool's Europa League exit could be a blessing as it frees them up from potential fixture congestion, according to manager Brendan Rodgers

  • Rugby

    Lancaster keeps quiet on Premiership restructure

    Stuart Lancaster kept his counsel over whether the Aviva Premiership system of promotion and relegation but said he hopes to be consulted on any changes to England's top flight

  • Rugby

    Brumbies hold on in scrappy win in Melbourne

    The rugby gods have smiled on the Brumbies, as the visitors at AAMI Park held on for a gutsy 20-15 win over the Melbourne Rebels in their clash

  • Football

    We must make sure Sturridge doesn't break - Rodgers

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge's fitness must be managed properly so that the striker "doesn't break"

  • Formula 1

    Vettel clarifies 'strange' Alonso crash comments

    Sebastian Vettel has clarified the widely reported comments he made after Fernando Alonso's crash on the final day of the second Barcelona test

  • News
  • Features
Sponsored Links
Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!