It might be time to rename Allianz Stadium as 'The Glue Factory,' because today, this was a place where horses came to die.
The Tahs 28-13 victory over the Brumbies this afternoon was a huge statement from the reigning premiers who have looked anything but consistent so far this season. In a fiery affair, marred with allegations of homophobic slurs (we'll get to that later) the Tahs showed for the first time this season, the defensive hustle and work rate that won them the tournament last year.
So what happened?
The Brumbies got off to a flyer thanks to a Matt Toomua try in the fourth minute, the signs weren't good, if the Tahs defense was going to be this unreliable all game, they didn't have a chance. Luckily, they righted the ship and kept the Brumbies tryless for the rest of the game.
Even though the score line didn't reflect it, this was an incredibly close game. There were long periods of end to end phase play that couldn't be converted and in reality the difference was Israel Folau, who scored one and set up the other two NSW tries. Both forward packs went at it hard and it was obvious why these are the best two teams in the Australian Conference.
Unlike in previous weeks the Waratahs weren't sloppy with the ball, combine this with the relentless speed in which their defensive line always met the ball carrier, and they proved just too much for a well drilled Brumbies squad, who didn't do themselves any disservice in the loss.
A great crowd of 27,000 fans got to witness a cracker of a game and they definitely got their money's worth. I still maintain there is nothing more majestic than a front rower scoring a try, and when Waratah hooker Tolu Latu made a galloping (albeit uncontested) run down the wing to score the final try, the celebrations began.
Stories emerged after the game that Brumbies players, namely David Pocock made two complaints during the game about NSW players and homopohobic slurs. An official complaint was made after the game by the Brumbies, and if true it's indefensible behaviour by the Waratahs, expect SANZAR to react harshly and rightly so.
With that being said, it was interesting to watch the 'ref cam' throughout the match. Whenever they cut to Craig Joubert's perspective, you would see one of two things. Pocock's face, or the face of Nic White. Whilst the complaints of slurs are completely understandable, outside of those, it might be wise for the pair to focus a bit more on playing rugby, instead of having a chat to the ref.
If you do that, you might score more than one try.
So overall, encouraging signs for the Waratahs today, whilst not the perfect execution, they showed the composure, heart and classthat is required to win the big games in Super Rugby. Sounds like a pretty good Sunday afternoon to me.
Waratahs 28 (Folau, Latu, Foley)
Brumbies 13 (Toomua)