Rugby Union 3 years ago

Flower Power

  • Flower Power

The Waratahs have secured a home grand final for the first time in the team's history.

Let that sink in for a minute, because it is a massive achievement. 

Only a few years ago, you couldn't pay people to attend a Waratahs game, yet last night's semi-final against the Brumbies drew close to 40,000 fans for the most hyped game of rugby in Sydney since the 2003 world cup final.

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The Tahs came into the game keen to shake the tag of the perrenial underachiever and started off with a bang, with Alofa Alofa scoring a great 60 metre try after capitalising off some poor Brumbies passing. A Bernard Foley penalty put the Tahs 8-0  in front, but a Henry Speight try and another penalty to both teams meant  that the score at half time was 11-8 in the Waratahs favour. 

Defence wins championships and in the second half the Waratahs produced one of the most memorable defensive displays in the team's history. The Brumbies camped themselves in their attacking half for most of the half, but great try saving tackles from Jacques Potgeiter and Nick Phipps kept the relentless Brumbies attack at bay. Whilst the Brumbies had the majority of possession, the Waratahs proved that possession isn't important if you're clinical. Kurtley Beale managed to strip Jesse Mogg of the ball in the 47th minute to score and then Will Skelton made a break and played an incredible offload to Bernard Foley who crossed for the final try of the game. 

This game had a test match feel, mainly due to the refereeing of South African Jaco Peyper, who awarded 25 penalties (15 against the waratahs). The Brumbies were able to capitalise on this with their strong set pieces, and hopefully SANZAR name an official who will allow running rugby to be played next week. 

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper was obviously pleased with the nature of the result saying, "We talked before the game about how we had to take our opportunities. Defence wins you games and it was really good tonight." With Dan Carter returning to the Crusaders, they're going to need a repeat performance next week.

Check out the highlights below. 

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