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Wallaby hopeful stars for Waratahs with impressive performance against the Drua

By Ben Smith
Waratahs' Max Jorgensen (R) takes ball in his possession during the Super Rugby match between the New South Wales' Waratahs and Fijian Drua at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on May 20, 2023. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP via Gettys Images)

Young fullback Max Jorgensen has shown his playmaking skills as the NSW Waratahs maintained their late season Super Rugby Pacific surge with a 32-18 home win over Fijian Drua in Sydney.


NSW secured a fourth straight win on Saturday, scoring five tries to two to consolidate sixth place and almost certainly book a finals spot with two rounds remaining.

Jorgensen’s one-handed passes set up first-half tries to his wingers Mark Nawaqanitawase and Dylan Pietsch and the 18-year-old back threw a more conventional pass for the match-clinching try to No.8 Lange Gleeson in the 71st minute.

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He was also involved In Nawaqanitawase’s spectacular second try.

“He did some great things in attack,” Tahs coach Darren Coleman said, praising Jorgensen.

“He’s picking his times on where to run back and he’s getting offloads away if not tackle breaks, so he’s warming into it.”

At times, the Tahs appeared to produce moves out of the Fijian playbook with some sensational offloads and one-handed passes, but also had to make twice as many tackles as their opponents.

“I just like the fact that we can win now without being emotionally high, I just felt it was relatively clinical,” Coleman said.

“There were definitely things we could have done a little better around our breakdown or a couple of kicks that didn’t go out, but I just thought we stayed in the fight, the effort was good throughout


“We’re not there yet but we’re getting to a point where were relatively consistent and not too many things are fazing us.

“When it came back to a draw (13-13), we could have panicked and momentum could have swung, but they wrested that back and just defended really well.”

Early on, Fijian Drua five-eighth Caleb Muntz kicked two penalties including the opening score of the game.

Good lead-up work from flanker Michael Hooper, Pietsch, centre Joey Walton and Jorgensen set up Wallabies’ back Nawaqanitawase for the Tahs’ first try.


Jorgensen preserved the home team’s lead with a fine try-saving tackle on visiting winger Taniela Rakuro.

A crucial twist occurred right on halftime as two penalties pushed the Tahs deep into Drua territory and Jorgensen then put Pietsch over .

Five-eighth Ben Donaldson converted to give NSW a 13-6 lead at the break.


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