Hooper’s NSW Waratahs burst to life to leapfrog Queensland and move into the all-important third spot with a record-breaking 45-12 rout of the Reds.
Suddenly, with the Brumbies having a bye this week, the Rebels and Waratahs are in hot pursuit of the ladder leaders with four rounds remaining before the three-team finals series.
“The Australian comp is always going to be like this as it gets to the pointy end; it’s going to be tight,” Hooper said after the Waratahs racked up the biggest win over their fiercest rivals since the advent of Super Rugby 24 years ago.
Six years after shocking Australian rugby to take a contract in France in his prime, former Wallabies captain Ben Mowen spoke to Finn Morton about his decision to move abroad.https://t.co/FJrkqgSPay
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 7, 2020
“The Reds almost knocked off the Brumbies last week, probably should have, so it was going to make for a really interesting game.
“But these scores can happen.
“So we’re pleased that we get five points. We needed every one of them.”
The Waratahs blew the Reds off the park to lead 38-0 at halftime, leaving Queensland coach Brad Thorn to concede his side may have suffered a let down from their sapping last-minute loss to the Brumbies.
But he was pleased with the Reds’ spirit, after they won the second half at the SCG.
“It could have got ugly in the second half, even uglier,” Thorn said.
The Reds were rocked by the sudden death last Wednesday night of Jordan Petaia’s father from a heart attack and now the 20-year-old Wallabies star could potentially miss several weeks.
“That was a tough one,” Thorn said.
“We’re feeling for him and his family. His dad was a wonderful man.
“We’re just thinking of Jordy.”
The Reds, trailing the Brumbies by seven competition points, host the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night needing to win to retain control of their finals destiny.
The Waratahs take on the winless Western Force at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Friday night with a golden opportunity to jump into second spot.
– Darren Walton
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now