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Waratahs player ratings vs Brumbies | Super Rugby Pacific

By Nick Turnbull
The first Australian instalment of Super Rugby Pacific 2023 saw the Waratah’s host the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, Sydney.

The first Australian instalment of Super Rugby Pacific 2023 saw the Waratahs host the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, Sydney. The Waratahs, who have been touted to be a resurgent force in 2023, were outthought and outplayed by the Brumbies who took the game 31-25.

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The Waratahs failed to fire at set piece and thus didn’t find their rhythm and tempo in attack, however did enough to show if they can get their set piece to click they can be the side many have tipped them to be in 2023.

Yet, that may be a problem compounded by yet another injury to outstanding loose head prop Angus Bell who looked primed for a man-of-the-match performance before having to leave the field.

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This is how the Waratahs rated.

 

  1. Ben Donaldson – 6/10

Managed his role well and kept the Brumbies pinned in their own half with some accurate kicking. Doesn’t look out of place.

 

  1. Mark Nawaqanitawase – 6

Looked dangerous and looked for work however was guilty at times of perhaps over playing his hand.

 

  1. Izaia Perese – 5.5

Like Foketi struggled to find his way into the match. However, what is positive is that he is back after a long injury lay off.

 

  1. Lalakai Foketi – 6

He was solid but fell victim to the lack of descent possession in attack. Solid in defence and expect him to improve over the next several weeks.

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  1. Max Jorgensen – 8

I thought he was superb in a losing side. Whilst he does not have blistering pace, he does possess balance, strength, vision and a fair set of heels that saw him score two wonderful tries.

 

  1. Tane Edmed – 5

Didn’t happen for him tonight. Got found out in defence and was guilty of playing a little too laterally in attack. Has better rugby in him.

 

  1. Jake Gordon – 6.5

A fair effort however probably couldn’t get his side playing more fluently due to the scrappy possession he received from the set piece. To his credit he scored a wonderful try to keep his side in the hunt.

 

  1. Angus Bell – 8

Was an absolute brut be it in the carry, defensive line or set piece. This coupled with a silky set of hands reminded us what potential this man has however had to leave the field due to what appears to be yet another injury. Frustrating for all concerned.

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  1. Dave Poreki – 6

Credit for courage for his defensive efforts against a rampaging Rob Valentini however his tackling technique was questionable. Generally, he appeared to be dusting off the cobwebs but had a fair dig.

 

  1. Archer Holz – 5

There has been plenty of praise for this young prop however tonight he was rebranded from ‘promising’ to ‘exposed’. The Waratahs struggled to launch their attack off the scrum as it was under so much pressure through the tight head side. Plenty of work to do.

 

  1. Jed Holloway – 6

Put in a clunky performance. He ran to high at times, passed poorly and generally failed to impose himself on the game that saw him break into the Wallabies in 2022. Has much butter rugby in him.

 

  1. Taleni Seu – 5.5

Is a massive human however he was simply too high in contact on both sides of the ball. If the Tah’s want to get the best out of his frame, he will need to adjust or he is a bit of a passenger.

 

  1. Lachlan Swinton – 6

A solid return after a long lay off with injury and was enthused to see he didn’t give away any penalties. Expect him to build off this performance.

 

  1. Michael Hooper – 7

Exhaustive performance as expected. What pleased was how he keeps appearing when he side need him most, be it as a support runner, defender and ball carrier.

 

  1. Charlie Gamble – 7

Impressive effort however was guilty of undoing his good work with an unforced error or two. Not convinced 8 is his best position and perhaps the Waratahs would have been better served by starting Will Harris or Langi.

 

Replacements:

  1. Mahe Vailanu – 6.5 – Brought some impact and some genuine gain line punch when he came on. Looks like a promising prospect.
  2. Tom Lambert – 6.5 – Played more minutes than expected and despite struggling in the set piece showed he has plenty to offer around the park.
  3. Te Tera Faulkner – 6.5 – brought some stability to the set piece but also showed some silky skills at first receiver and also in a number of supporting runs. Ageing well.
  4. Hugh Sinclair – 5.5 – Brought some energy when he came on, as required.
  5. Langi Gleeson – 6 – A fair effort however is probably better suited to the physicality of the opening stages of the match. Didn’t quite find his way into the match.
  6. Will Harris – 6.5 – Found meters in the wider channels and brought some tempo to the match.
  7. Harrison Goddard – N/A
  8. Nemani Nadolo – 5.5 – Had several promising touches and looks suited to the impact role off the bench.
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J
Jon 6 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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