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Waratahs run in big score against Brumbies to open Super W season

Tatum Bird of the Waratahs scores. Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs have taken the first step towards redemption with a season-opening 45-10 Super Rugby Women’s victory over the ACT Brumbies.


After winning the first four editions of the competition, then losing the 2022 title match to the Fijiana Drua, the Waratahs suffered their first-ever semi-final defeat last year after going through the regular season as undefeated minor premiers.

That second crushing loss to the Drua is driving the Tahs’ quest for atonement in 2024, with skipper Piper Duck conceding the entire squad had been stewing throughout the summer.

The hurt and hunger showed as Duck delivered an inspirational captain’s knock to lead NSW to a seven-tries-to-one triumph at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

The powerhouse No.8 had a hand in the first four tries, collecting two herself, while dynamic winger Maya Stewart bagged a hat-trick.

Five-eighth Arabella McKenzie slotted five conversions as the Tahs – boasting 14 Wallaroos – won in style.


It’s not a stretch, though, to say the home team may not have won without Duck and classy flanker Emily Chancellor on the park.


After making a dream start with two tries in the opening 12 minutes and barely giving the Brumbies a look-in, the Waratahs were warned after conceding six straight penalties.

Despite a 10-minute period of dominance in the NSW half, the visitors could only manage a penalty goal from five-eighth Faitala Moleka.

Then the Waratahs immediately regained possession from the restart and delivered a hammer blow coach killer with a try after halftime to extend their lead to 21-3.

Duck started the movement with a subtle short pass to Chancellor, who looked certain to score before stumbling metres short of the line and popping up the pass for her captain to notch her double.


Under more pressure in the second half from the spirited Brumbies outfit, the hosts almost inevitably lost prop Emily Robinson to the sin bin for pulling down a maul.

The Brumbies notched their only try during their one-player advantage, through prop Sally Fuesaina in the 50th minute.

But Stewart snuffed out any hopes of a Brumbies comeback win with her second try six minutes later.

Centre Georgina Friedrichs and replacement back Tatum Bird also crossed either side of Stewart completing her treble to round out the statement win.

“I’m extremely happy with that performance,” Duck said.

“First game of the season, we had a really solid four trial games leading into that and I think it really shows.

“The pre-season that we’ve had has been such hot tier and I’m really proud of the girls tonight.”


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Wonton 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

22 Go to comments
Nick 6 hours ago
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Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

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