As nice as it would be to have every game in a Super Rugby season be a closely contested thriller, it's inevitable that some will be training runs for vastly superior teams.
This was one of those.
Question: What do you get when you combine a wallabies fly-half, a deep forward pack and outside backs who are actually able to run in more than a straight line?
Answer: A team that's going to thrash the QLD reds.
Whilst I was slightly worried in the lead up to this game, that the Waratahs would get all NSWish and throw a game that they shouldn't lose, in the back of my mind it seemed obvious to me that the Tahs had the team to easily win, even up in QLD.
Luckily my fears were put to rest early in the game as it became obvious that the gulf in class was too large between the two teams. Whilst it was scrappy and NSW were far from their best, it was apparent that whatever the Tahs could do, the Reds couldn't do better.
Waratahs dropped the ball? Don't worry QLD will do it twice.
It was such a bizarre watching experience that I don't even want to write a proper match report, I feel like you should just watch it yourself. But alas, this is my job, so here's a brief run down:
- Bernard Foley, was man of the match. He scored 18 of the teams 23 points and was pivotal in dictating the Tahs tempo. The difference between him and Nick Frisby of the Reds was night and day. It's was like watching a Rugby version of dancing with the stars, Foley was the graceful latino dance instructor, whilst Nick Frisby was the awkward and uncoordinated C grade star from Home and Away. Two left feet indeed. To be fair though, he's really a half-back, it's not his fault that his coach put him there.
- The loss of James Slipper to injury was huge for the Reds, he's absolute quality and a necessity in what is a relatively inexperience pack compared to the Tahs. His leadership cannot be understated and hopefully he's pulled up ok.
- Kurtley Beale also played a cracker, not to the level he played against the Rebels a fortnight ago. But his mere presence in the team means opposition defenses are always second guessing what is going to happen when they defend. He's like the guy who keeps looking at your girlfriend at the pub, you don't know if he's going to do anything, but you've got to make sure you keep an eye on him all night, the perfect player to put you off your game.
- The Reds stood way too far back in attack, handling errors aside, it's never a good look when you can hardly get over the advantage line. They could never get it going and as a result James O'Connor had plenty of time to do his hair at fullback. He'll never admit it, but he was definitely chuffed to bits.
- The Tahs were wasteful, this was a golden opportunity to get a bonus point win, they had the opportunities to put up 50 points on this Reds side. And whilst a win was good, you can guarantee Cheika will be demanding more from them.
All in all, I recommend you take a look at the game if you missed it. Yes it was scrappy, but who doesn't like watching the Tahs dominate the Reds.