Waratahs player ratings v Drua | Super Rugby Pacific
For the final game on Saturday night, the Waratahs took on the Fijian Drua. A bruising encounter, the first half was an arm-wrestle, punctuated by some brutal defence from both teams.
The Drua fans brought energy to Super Round, and their team fed off it, muscling the Waratahs in defence and serving up attacking highlights throughout the game. Following the half, the Drua came out blazing, but the Waratahs were able to reel them back in. The Waratahs battled their way back into the game to regain the lead then emptied their bench to add an extra hit of energy.
Poor discipline and fatigue from the Drua allowed the Tahs to take control of the game, and when the Drua were reduced to 13 men because of uncontested scrums, the Waratahs were able to pile on the points in the last 10 minutes for a 46-17 victory.
1. Tom Lambert – 7
Making his first start in place of the injured Angus Bell, the English prop fronted up at scrum time, holding his own against a monster Drua pack. Showed some silky hands to play the ball out the back to his outside support. Put in a big shift lasting 70 minutes before being replaced.
2. Dave Porecki – 6
Scored the Waratahs opening try. Made 11 tackles in a big defensive shift. At times during the game he got his technique at the lineout wrong and gave away easy penalties at the breakdown.
3. Archer Holz – 6
Quite game from the young prop, doing all the unglamorous work asked of him. Performed admirably at scrum time, setting a good platform for the Waratahs to launch their attack.
4. Jed Holloway – 8
Has rejuvenated his career since returning to the Waratahs, and put in a fantastic performance again tonight. Lead from the front in terms of carries and forward play. Had an opportunity to score in the first half but couldn’t keep his feet in touch. Won a crucial lineout against the throw in the 61st minute.
5. Hugh Sinclair – 6.5
Hard-working lock who didn’t shirk the hard work needed in his position. He trucked the ball up in close and supported his team mates at the breakdown. Got through a mountain of defensive work and made eight tackles. Was a target at lineout time.
6. Lachlan Swinton – 6
The hulking backrower was asked to carry hard in tight and was on the receiving end of some huge hits. Made seven carries but dropped the pill a few times when hit hard.
7. Michael Hooper – 7
Reliable as ever, Hooper put in a big defensive shift for his team, making 13 tackles. Set up the Donaldson try by slicing through a gap and popping off the Gleeson.
8. Langi Gleeson – 8
Put a huge hit on his opponent in the opening stanza, setting the tone for a physical game. Combined with Hooper to set up Donaldson for an important try. Was the Tahs go-to man to break tackles and gain metres from his carries, beating four defenders. Scored in the 57th minute to give the Tahs the lead.
9. Jake Gordon – 7.5
The Tahs skipper drove the team’s attack for most of the match, setting the tempo and directing his forwards. He was kept busy in defence, covering the channel off the ruck from attacking raids from the Drua forwards.
10. Tane Edmed – 6
Sat back on his heels in the first half, preferring to play off Gordon and distribute to his backs. Played more direct in the second half but relied on his forwards to gain the hard metres. Scored in the 62nd minute.
11. Max Jorgensen – 6
The young speedster had some good touches and was rapid in space. Well contained by his opposite number but won the aerial battle with some great takes in the air. Scored perhaps the easiest try of the year to add to his tally.
12. Lalakai Foketi – 7
Had some hard carries through the inside channel off set-piece to get the Tahs over the advantage line. Made repeat efforts in attack, and the team relied on him to organize their defence.
13. Izaia Perese – 6.5
Was at his powerful best, targeting the outside shoulders of his opposing number and breaking tackles. Throughout the match he was able to fly up from his line and shut down the Drua attack with some big shots.
14. Mark Nawaqanitawase – 7.5
The big winger was able to get on the outside of his opposition using his power and speed, reeling off a team-high 110 metres. He is improving his defence week-in week-out. Was on the receiving end of a cross-field kick to dot down for a try in the 73rd minute.
15. Ben Donaldson – 7
Was solid at the back for the Waratahs, fielding kicks and probing the Drua’s backfield with his big boot. Acted as an additional playmaker, inserting himself into the backline to launch an attacking raid. Scored his first try in Super Rugby off the back of a slick backline move for a much-needed try in the second half.
16. Tolu Latu – 6
Entered the game in the 55th minute to make a remarkable return for the Tahs after 1360 days away.
17. Te Tera Faulkner – 5.5
Subbed on in the 55th minute.
18. Dan Botha – N/A
Replaced Lambert in the 70th minute to make his debut.
19. Taleni Seu – 6
Replaced Sinclair in the 55th minute. Was targeted at lineout time and had some impressive carries.
20. Will Harris – N/A
On in the 70th minute for Gleeson.
21. Charlie Gamble – 5.5
Came on for Swinton in the 55th minute. Made some carries but it was a quiet night by his standards.
22. Harrison Goddard – N/A
Replaced Gordon in the 70th minute.
23. Ben Dowling – 5
Came on for his debut in the 70th minute. Shifted to first-receiver for the final stanza of the game.
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G'day, Nick. Sorry to see you've gone from the other place. It will be a poorer experience for many because of it. As others mentioned, your detailed analysis and commitment to engaging with every person commenting on your articles stood out and was the main reason I ended up joining 5 years ago. I'll be spending a bit more time over here now I think.Go to comments
Think you boys forgot that Graham Henry coached the 2011 All Blacks and that Hansen/ Smith were assistants. The cross was shouldered by Henry. Erasmus' point here is that he and Nienaber are looking to win back to back WC's as head coaching combos. A bit of a reach because he is now the DoR and not the coach with the title anymore, but we all know who the real brain behind this Bok squad/strategy is.Go to comments