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Waratahs player ratings vs Rebels | Super Rugby Pacific

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

The Waratahs have been beaten in a thriller against Australian rivals the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park, losing 34-27.

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Backrower Richard Hardwick had another sublime first half for the hosts, and played a key role in their lead at the main break.

While the Waratahs fought their way back, and even managed to take the lead, the Rebels emerged victorious. Led by flyhalf Carter Gordon, the Rebels ran away with an important.

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As for the Waratahs, they won’t leave Melbourne empty handed. A sideline conversion from Tane Edmed after the full-time siren gave the visitors a losing bonus point.

Here’s how the Waratahs rated.

 

  1. Ben Donaldson – 6.5/10

The playmaking duo of Donaldson and Tane Edmed has the potential to become something quite special for the Tahs. The pair both showed glimpses of this throughout the opening 40, before the game got away from them after the break.

Donaldson popped up at first five quite regularly for the Tahs, where he showed his playmaking potential and strong kicking game. But he also served the Tahs jersey well with his performance out the back – Donaldson was safe under the high ball and made some strong tackles.

 

  1. Mark Nawaqanitawase – 8

In a losing side, Mark Nawaqanitawase was still exceptional. After making his Wallabies debut during last year’s end-of-season tour, the winger has continued his incredible rise throughout Super Rugby Pacific this year.

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Let’s start with the try: when the Waratahs needed someone to stand up, the winger stood up and did what his team needed him to. The right winger found himself on the left edge, and reaped the rewards of some tidy phase play from the Tahs.

Other than that, Nawaqanitawase was lethal in both attack in defence. Not only did he have the equal-most carries out of any Tahs player, but 22-year-old also made the most tackles out of back on his team with 10.

 

  1. Izaia Perese – 6

With his first carry of the game, Perese looked dangerous – if only for a moment. After beating a defender, the centre was knocked into next week after being caught on the wrong end of a big hit.

Overall, it was a quiet performance from the Wallaby. Perese ran the ball five times and made four tackles, but it wasn’t anything that necessarily stood out.

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  1. Lalakai Foketi – 6.5

The Wallaby got busy on both sides of the ball. While the Rebels took control of the contest, Foketi never threw in the towel – he worked tirelessly in an effort to turn the tide. The inside centre ended up running the ball six times, making seven tackles, and winning one penalty at the breakdown.

 

  1. Nemani Nadolo – 6

Nemani Nadolo was a late inclusion in the Waratahs’ starting side after Max Jorgensen was ruled out of the round three match. The Fijian international came agonisingly close to a try in the 18th minute, but the TMO ruled against it. Still, the sheer athleticism, pace and power that he showed in that passage of play can’t go unnoticed.

Nadolo finished with the second-most running metres out of any Waratahs player with 41 from five carries.

 

  1. Tane Edmed – 6.5

Tane Edmed is a player to watch, but the flyhalf didn’t quite stand out like he did during Super Round against the Fijian Drua. Rugby fans saw glimpses of playmaking gifts, with a brilliant rugby IQ that will serve the Tahs well for years to come. But as the Rebels took control, the star pivot struggled to make a noticeable impact on the match.

But his performance was far from doom and gloom. The goalkicking ace kept his side in the match for a majority of the clash, having scored 12 points off the tee. Also, call him Mr Clutch because the first five knocked over a conversion from the sideline with the final play of the game to give his side a losing bonus point.

 

  1. Jake Gordon (c) – 6.5

The Waratahs captain did what he needed to do without really standing out against the Rebels. As Australian rugby fans have come to expect from Jake Gordon, his passing game was accurate and quick – and he ordered his team around the park like the leader he is.

But it just wasn’t the Waratahs’ night.

 

  1. Tom Lambert – 7

Lambert featured in the round two RugbyPass team of the week, and has backed up that performance with another strong outing. The prop had the second-most carries out of any Waratahs forward (8) and also got busy in defence with 11 tackles.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Lambert was penalised in the 11th minute for an infringement at the scrum.

 

  1. Mahe Vailanu – 6.5

Mahe Vailanu is an exciting prospect within Australian rugby – and rugby fans saw glimpses of why on Friday night. The hooker has previously starred in Major League Rugby with the LA Giltinis – having impressed alongside Wallabies greats Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Starting in the No. 2 jersey for the Tahs in round three, Vailanu did his core job quite well. The 26-year-old hit most of his targets at the lineout, and was also hungry around the field – he seemed desperate to get involved, and did just that.

 

  1. Archer Holz – 5.5

Waratahs prop Archer Holz made a statement early in the match, having won a penalty at the scrum inside the opening 10 minutes. But, in review, that was the highlight of an otherwise quiet outing. While Holz didn’t miss any tackles from six attempts, he only ran the ball once – for the most, the prop didn’t make an impact around the field.

 

  1. Jed Holloway – 7

The Waratahs’ forward pack struggled to match it with the Rebels, except for Jed Holloway. The Wallaby was a shining light at times for the visitors, as he got stuck in in both attack and defence. Holloway was also one of the go-to options at the set-piece for Mahe Vailanu.

 

  1. Hugh Sinclair – 5.5

Following a mixed performance in the opening 38 minutes, lock Hugh Sinclair was replaced just before the half-time break. Sinclair had made his mark at the lineout – proving to be one of the Tahs’ go-to players, and also piling plenty of pressure on the Rebels’ throw.

However, for the most part, Sinclair struggled to make an impact during his time out in the middle The Rebels controlled a lot of the first half which didn’t make his job any easier.

 

  1. Lachlan Swinton – 5

It was an uncharacteristically quiet performance from flanker Lachlan Swinton on Friday night, as he struggled to make his mark around the field. While rugby fans saw glimpses of his trademark aggression, Swinton just wasn’t able to execute as he usually would. The flanker only made three tackles, and ran the ball three times.

 

  1. Michael Hooper – 6.5

As the game clock ticked ever closer to full time, commentators Andrew Mehrtens and Drew Mitchell commented on the unusually quiet performance from Michael Hooper. As they discussed, the Rebels managed to minimise his impact by targeting the Super Rugby veteran at the breakdown.

While it wasn’t his best performance, it’s impossible to fault his work rate. Hooper has been one of the best flankers in world rugby for quite some time, and there’s a reason why. Even though the Rebels managed to shut him down, Hooper still finished with the equal-most tackles (11) out of any Waratahs player.

 

  1. Langi Gleeson – 7.5

Following his standout performance last week, loose forward Langi Gleeson backed it up with another strong outing. Whether it was in attack or defence, Gleeson certainly made a statement ahead of this year’s World Cup in France.

In attack, Gleeson made an exceptional burst in the 20th minute, having run a brilliant line off Jake Gordon. But the No. 8 wasn’t rewarded for his efforts, having been stopped short of the line and later pined for a double movement. The loose forward also registered a try assist.

Defensively, Gleeson finished with 100 per cent tackle accuracy from his eight attempts.

 

Replacements:

  1. Tolu Latu – 6
  2. Tetera Faulkner – 5.5
  3. Harry Johnston-Holmes – 6
  4. Taleni Seu – 7
  5. Will Harris – 5.5
  6. Charlie Gamble – 7 – Gamble had an immediate impact after coming on off the bench. Not only did he win a penalty at the breakdown, but the flanker also crossed for a try shortly after in the 55th minute.
  7. Teddy Wilson – N/A
  8. Ben Dowling – N/A
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