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Waratahs player ratings vs Highlanders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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To close out Cultural Round of Super Rugby Pacific the Waratahs travelled to Forsyth Barr Stadium to face the Highlanders.

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It was seventh playing eighth, and the Waratahs came to Dunedin 5,195 days since they had won away against the Landers. It was not a great start for the Waratahs, turning over the ball in their won 22 allowed the Highlanders to score within the first three minutes. 

The Waratahs responded by marching up the field, and Will Harris barged through the Highlanders defence for a short range try. 

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Sam Gilbert was red carded in the 30th minute for reckless cleanout on Michael Hooper, which allowed the Waratahs to score their second try when Nawaqanitawase finished off a well-worked move from a Tahs scrum.

In the second half, the Highlanders hit back and a yellow card to the Waratahs let them back in the match. The Waratahs held them at bay but fronted up in the collision and took the points when they were on offer. The Waratahs sealed the game in the 77th minute when Hanigan broke the line and popped the ball for Edmed to score the first try of his Super Rugby career. 

Here’s how the Waratahs rated against the Highlanders:

1. Tetera Faulkner – 6/10

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Was immense in set-piece, and won a big scrum penalty against the feed that put the Waratahs in good field position.

2. Dave Porecki – 6

Was solid at lineout time, providing accurate throws for his locks to contest. Continues to push for a Wallabies spot.

3. Paddy Ryan – 5

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Was much better at scrum time this week, holding up his side for the first half. Was pushed over quite easily to open the second half. Was yellow carded for a cleanout on Josh Dickson.

4. Geoff Cridge – 5

Made plenty of carries but has to correct his carrying technique as he was frequently held up in contact and failed to make post contact metres. Was the main target for the Waratahs at lineout time, winning six throws.

5. Hugh Sinclair – 6

The hard-working backrower/lock toiled away all afternoon, doing the nitty-gritty stuff that’s often overlooked. He’s not the most dynamic player on the park but the Waratahs will be thankful for his work at the ruck and in the lineout.

6. Langi Gleeson – 6.5

Was an impressive appearance from the rangy backrower. Took on the line and was able to break through gaps in the Highlanders defensive line, carrying 10 times. He made an important covering tackle on Solomona. Subbed off for Gamble in the 62 minute.

7. Michael Hooper – 7

Showed his quality work rate, supporting his fellow forwards all over the park. Was dumped on his neck from a reckless cleanout by Sam Gilbert. Plucked the ball from the ruck and ran 22 metres untouched to score the Waratahs third try.

8. Will Harris – 7.5

Continues to push for higher honours with another strong showing. He scored the Waratahs opening try by putting on some fancy footwork and diving from 5 metres. Continued to make important carries right up until the 80th minute, finishing with 30 metres off seven carries.

9. Jake Gordon – 6.5

An assured performance from the Waratahs skipper. Was able to lead around his forwards and provided fast, clean service for his backs. His box kicking put the Waratah in good field position. Put pressure on Aaron Smith throughout the game.

10. Tane Edmed – 6.5

Swung it out wide to put Nawaqanitawase in the corner for the Tahs second try. His tactical kicking was on song throughout the match, pinning the Highlanders in their half with pin-point kicks. Finished off the game by scoring his first Super Rugby try.

11. Dylan Pietsch – 6.5

Challenged the Highlanders out wide with his fancy footwork and evasiveness, but often looked unsure what to do when he found himself in space. Bombed a chance at a try by throwing a no-look pass to his support.

12. Lalakai Foketi – 6

Provided the Tahs with some good go-forward by carrying hard through the middle, carrying 10 times for 65 metres. Split the Highlanders defence to put the Waratahs in an excellent position to close out the game with 12 minutes to go.

13. Alex Newsome – 5.5

Filled in at outside centre for the injured Perese and was kept relatively quiet by the Highlanders.

14. Mark Nawaqanitawase – 6.5

Was fantastic in the air and was able to reel off big metres in the open field. He made a team-high 132 metres. Was on the end of a slick Waratahs backline move to score his fifth try of the season.

15. Ben Donaldson – 6

His big boot reeled off territory to get the Waratahs out of their own half. Covered at the back admirably.

Reserves:

16. Mahe Vailanu – 5.5

Came on in the 60th minute. His first throw was off target and went straight to the Highlanders. The Waratahs went to a shortened lineout to close out the game.

17. Angus Bell – 6

Came on in the 57th minute and made an impact at the scrum. Carried 5 times for 18 metres.

18. Ruan Smith – 5

Came on in the 55th minute to replace the yellow-carded Paddy Ryan.

19. Jeremy Williams – 5

Came on late in the game. Went close to scoring a decisive try but the ball was kicked out of his hand by Marty Banks.

20. Ned Hanigan – 6.5

Came on in the 60th minute for his first match of the year with the Waratahs and was heavily involved. Gave the last pass to put Edmed through for the Tahs final try which sealed the game in the 77th minute.

21. Charlie Gamble – 6

Came on and made a noticeable impact. Worked well in tandem with Hooper at the breakdown, and won a crucial turnover with 7 minutes to go.

22. Jack Grant – N/A

Unused.

23. Jamie Roberts – N/A

Came on with 10 minutes to go in the game.

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