Jun 7 • General News, Super Rugby • 1405 Views • Comments Off on NINE TRY EFFORT TAKES TAHS BACK TO TOP

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A frenetic start to the first half saw five tries scored in the first 20 minutes of the match in Bloemfontein, with three of those scored to the visiting Waratahs – bolstering their hopes of a bonus point win to regain the Australian Conference lead.

The bonus point was secured easily, with an extraordinary eight tries scored in the first half – and Israel Folau finding his scoring form to add two tries in the first and completing his hat-trick in the second.

The second half saw the Cheetahs’ intensity wane; and the Waratahs ran in a further four tries to finish the match 58-33 winners and regain the top position on the Australian Super Rugby Conference leaderboard.

It took less than four minutes for Israel Folau to break through the Cheetahs’ defence, after an aggressive start from the Waratahs unsettled the home side. An uncharacteristic miss from Bernard Foley left the Waratahs with a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes.

Inaccurate defence from the Cheetahs continued, and a turnover from fullback Coenie van Wyk led to a quick try from Vice-Captain Michael Hooper after a pass from Wycliff Palu. Foley converted, and the lead was 12-0 after just 9 minutes.

The Cheetahs capitalised on a poor kick from Israel Folau, and scrambling defence from Adam Ashley-Cooper and Michael Hooper wasn’t enough to prevent a try to Francois Venter. Their second wasn’t minutes later, with Cornel Hendricks scooping up a lost ball to run almost the length of the field to equalise the scores. Van Wyk again converted and the Cheetahs took the lead 14-12 in the 15th minute.

An aggressive rolling maul put the Waratahs defence on notice, with Mitch Chapman proving his worth and almost halting the pack. The Cheetahs followed up with a spectacular line break by Ryno Benjamin, and were it not for the slippery conditions they would have likely scored their third try of the match.

Their second attempt at a rolling maul proved fruitful, and Boom Prinsloo crossed for the sixth try of the match in the 28th minute. Coenie van Wyk continued his accurate goal-kicking and regained the lead for the home side, 21-17.

A penalty against the Cheetahs did little to halt their momentum, with the Waratahs unable to win their own lineout. The subsequent scrum fed by the Cheetahs again resulted in a trying defence situation for the Waratahs, who managed to exploit the poor handling of the Cheetahs and win the scrum feed.

Determined attack from the Waratahs eventually resulted in Israel Folau’s second try of the match, securing the four-try bonus point that was so crucial for the visitors. Bernard Foley’s kicking woes continued, and the score moved 22-21 to the Waratahs with just a minute to play in the first half.

A line break from Israel Folau was the catalyst for a hard-earned try to Taqele Naiyaravoro in the 40th minute, and Bernard Foley added the extras to see the Waratahs head into the break with an eight point lead 29-21.

Just one minute into the second half, Michael Hooper facilitated a line break by Adam Ashley-Cooper which saw him stretch over the line for the Waratahs’ sixth try of the match, and his fifth for the 2015 Super Rugby season.

The pace of the match slowed considerably, with a number of substitutions made for the Cheetahs made in the first ten minutes of the second half. The Waratahs unfortunately could not capitalise on the lull in energy from their opponent, and made several unforced handling errors.

Dean Mumm returned to the field again in the 50th minute, but couldn’t stop the Waratahs’ defensive woes and Sergeal Petersen broke through to give Hendricks an easy try just five minutes later. Niel Marais kicked the conversion, and the Waratahs’ lead was pegged back to just six points, 34-28.

The Waratahs showed their class in reply, with Israel Folau securing his hat-trick in the 60th minute, despite an obvious trip attempt from Ryno Benjamin, who was given a yellow card for the foul. Foley kicked the conversion, and the Waratahs took a 13 point lead with 18 minutes to play.

After some early inaccuracy, Foley found his form to slot a neat penalty goal after Ewald van der Westhuizen infringed in the scrum, and the 44-28 lead looked almost unassailable by the weary Cheetahs at that point.

An extended period of play just metres away from the Cheetahs’ line saw the eighth Waratah try for the match, after Bernard Foley swooped in to rescue what looked like desperate turnover from the Cheetahs. He converted his own try to bring up the Tahs’ half century for the match, the score 51-28 with just over five minutes to play.

Carraro crossed for his second of the day, and ninth for the team tally, set up by some useful play by Jack Dempsey. Foley again kicked true, and the lead was extended to 30 points with two minutes to play.

A last ditch effort from the Cheetahs saw Francois Venter cross for his second try of the night, but the siren sounded and the Waratahs took the win 58-33 to return to the top of the Australian Super Rugby Conference.

Round 17 – Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
Cheetahs 33 Waratahs 58
F. Venter (11), C. Hendricks (14), B. Prinsloo (28), C. Hendricks (55), F. Venter (80) Tries I. Folau (4), M. Hooper (8), M. Carraro (19), I. Folau (38), T. Naiyaravoro (40), A. Ashley-Cooper (41), I. Folau (60), B. Foley (72), M. Carraro (76)
C. van Wyk (13), C. van Wyk (15), C. van Wyk (30), N. Marais (56) Conversions B. Foley (9), B. Foley (40), B. Foley (61), B. Foley (73), B. Foley (78)
Penalty Goals B. Foley (65)

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