NSW Waratahs go down by four in epic fight back against the Highlanders

Mar 18 • General News, Super Rugby • 1192 Views • Comments Off on NSW Waratahs go down by four in epic fight back against the Highlanders

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The NSW Waratahs have gone down 30 points to 26 against the Highlanders in tonight’s round four Super Rugby match at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
The Waratahs fought back from 30 points down to score four unanswered tries, with replacement, Jed Holloway scoring a stunning hat-trick in what was his first Super Rugby points.

The Waratahs struggled to execute their plays in the first half of the game before a phenomenal final 20 minutes saw them almost do the unthinkable and snatch the victory.

Kurtley Beale and Isreal Folau combined early, with the energetic fly-half putting in a nicely weighted chip kick for his fullback. But the Highlanders defensive line wanted none of it, knocking Folau down illegally. Beale’s penalty kick waved just outside the posts.

Some slick passing from the Highlanders backline saw fly-half Lima Sopoaga with a short ball to inside centre Rob Thompson who offloaded to his winger Ryan Tongia to score the first try of the match.

An offside penalty against the Waratahs in front of the sticks gave Sopoaga an easy three points, taking the score to 10-nil.

The Highlanders’ scrum was proving tough for the Tahs to handle, the home side giving away a penalty for collapsing. Luckily, Sopoaga couldn’t convert the penalty goal attempt from out wide.

NSW got their second shot at three points after a quarter of the match had passed. Beale missing a long range attempt to remain scoreless.

A drop ball from NSW Number 8 Wycliff Palu was quickly turned into points from the visiting side. Palu’s opposing Number 8 Liam Squire powering through two defenders to score their second try.

The Beale and Folau combination was on fire as they linked up again, this time with a cross field bomb from half way. Israel soared through the air to come up with a beautiful catch to put his side on the front foot.

Highlanders’ fullback Ben Smith noticed his side had numbers out wide. Kicking to the side line, the ball was regathered by blind-side flanker Elliot Dixon who put it down for a try.

The reigning Super Rugby Champions keeping the Tahs’ scoreless in the first half, 22-nil.

Jed Holloway was injected into the side in the second half when the Tahs started to show more promise.

A well weighted cross field kick from Sopoaga for try scorer Elliot Dixon who tussled with Waratahs winger Zac Guildford for the ball, stealing it before falling over the try-line to score his second of the night.

Sopoaga nailed a drop goal to take his side to a seemingly unassailable 30-point lead.

The Waratahs needed their passes to stick, and with 25 minutes to go, they did exactly that. A short ball from scrum half Nick Phipps put replacement Number 8 Jed Holloway over for his first Super Rugby try.

Former NRL speedster and try-scoring machine Reece Robinson replaced Matt Carraro after the Holloway try to notch his first Super Rugby cap.

Country NSW born Tom Robertson then replaced Angus Ta’avo for his debut Super Rugby cap.

Team captain and open-side flanker Michael Hooper made a strong line-break with some fancy footwork on the end. Beale identified a gap and offloaded for Holloway, who showed some great acceleration in scoring his second try in Super Rugby.

Coming off the bench minutes earlier, debutant  prop Robertson fought off three Highlanders defenders to score his maiden try in Super Rugby. Beale converting to bring the score to 30-19.

A stunning third try came for Holloway through a maul, capping off an impressive night. Beale converted and the Waratahs were within four points of a miraculous victory with just under ten minutes to go.

“New South Wales” chants roared around the stadium with the home fans tasting the win. But it wasn’t to be with the Tahs going down by 30-26 in a Friday night thriller.

NSW Waratahs head to Brisbane next Sunday to take on the Queensland Reds in round five.

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