Ben Donaldson

Week 9 of the 2024 Super Rugby Season ended with the battle of the bottom feeders before all 12 teams will be back on the road to finish off the regular season – Western Force v Crusaders at HBF Park. Crusaders fired off early as always with their strong starts but Force filled most of the first half up with some good momentum going into the break 15-5. Yes, the Crusaders have their moments at times where they thought they were back on track but then half of the side isn’t still up to it as the Force went on to extend their lead including a couple more not long before full-time with a huge win in Perth 37-15.

The man who kept a great eye on the Crusaders’ struggles tonight is Izack Rodda after he made an instant impact off the Western Force bench unexpectedly early on the second row with so much powerful physical straits to lock them down both ways in attack and defense. It led to so many things going his team’s way where the Force made the most out of their opportunities with a good first-half lead followed by an extraordinary 2nd half performance in front of the home supporters as great to see him back in Super Rugby through his previous years with the Reds after a tough last 1-2 years due to injury.

Next up is Ben Donaldson – another key Force player looking to make No.10 on his own every week – having had some inconsistencies before with the Waratahs over the last few years and also for at Wallabies lnternatonally. His kicking game looks near 100% for a start when adding the extra points off the back of the Crusaders’ poor discipline and defense; he’s also able to stretch his attack across the pitch which was another factor to the Force getting past the opposition on the counter attack with numbers on the board and can spot them being isolated which reflects his good defensive awareness all around.

Great to have the wealth of experience alongside a great coach (Simon Cron) & the goal now is to get some winning momentum from here for an outside Top 8 push starting with the Highlanders in Dunedin next Saturday.

And Sevu Reece holds the glue in the Crusaders dressing room where he just became the leading TRY scorer (53) which was an enormous achievement from the wide right. They are so grateful for his explosive pace and most importantly the experience on offer as he still has unfinished business at 27 having returned from a long-term knee injury at the start of this season. But in the meantime it’s just him running the show alone when the forwards simply weren’t on par that led to a pile of discipline and defensive mistakes as well as missed opportunities that isolated him and his backline & the current No.10 didn’t do much good either – looks like the Top 8 chances now looking near nigh now where things will be even harder before they will have to sit out the Finals for the first time in 2024 with the Melbourne Rebels next up at home in Christchurch on Friday.

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  • Match: Wales vs Australia
  • Series: Autumn International
  • Venue: Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales
  • Date & Time: Saturday, 26th November 2022 at 3pm local time/Sunday, 27th November 2022 at 2.15 am AEDT

Points Summary

Rio Dyer 51′
Jac Morgan 9′, 46′
Taulupe Feletau 21′
TriesLachlan Lonergan 77′
Penalty Try 72′
Mark Nawaqanitawase 57′, 67′
Folau Faingaa 33′
Gareth Anscombe 10′, 22′, 47′, 52′ConversionsNoah Lolesio 68′, 78′
Ben Donaldson 34′
Gareth Anscombe 18′, 27′Penalty GoalsBen Donaldson 3′, 14′
  • Wales & Australia ended their 2022 campaigns by playing one of the games of the year in Cardiff, as the Wallabies came back from a huge 21-point deficit to win 39-34, scoring the winning try with just 100 seconds on the clock.
  • The first-half started off brilliantly for Wales, after Jac Mprgan crashed over to finish off a move sparked by a speedy line break from veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones. Wales kept their good on the pedal and were soon over again, after Taulupe Feletau crased over out wide. The two sides exchanged two penalties over the course of the first-half, and Folau Faingaa’s TRY from the maul gave Australia some parity at the break, trailing the hosts by 20 points to 13.
  • The second half started in an even more rapid-fire style for the hosts, who crossed once more within moments when Morgan grounded at the back of a rolling maul. They shipped it wide for another try, which was finished in the left-hand corner by Rio Dyer. Australia had seen two men sent to the sin-bin by this point, and the Wallabies looked dead and buried with the score at 34-13 in Wales’s favor.
  • The Wallabies, however, came back, and came back firing alright. Winger Mark Nawaqanitawase had been relatively quiet for much of the game, but he burst into life in the second-half, crossing in the corner to give the Wallabies their first points of the second period. He soon scored their second five-pointer, darting from the back of a line-out to race clear and dot down again as the momentum began to shift. A trip from Wales captain Justin Tipuric reduced the home side to 14 men, and with the last 10 minutes approaching, the game only looked to be going one way.

Match Preview

  • In the first half, Wales began to spread their offense with Morgan’s try in the 9th minute. Wales had 20 points at half time. Although Donaldson scored a penalty goal in 3rd minutes. With that Wallabies started to get points. But they only scored 13 points in the 1st half. Wales had 20:13 lead in the 1st half.
  • In the Second half, although Wales showed an aggressive style of play. The Wallabies also showed a skillful style of play and the 2 tries that got the Mark Nawaqanitawase were outstanding. In this way Wallabies went to victory by collecting 39 points with 5 tries.

Winning Wallabies end brutal tour in perfect way

  • Christmas came 29 days early for Australia, as the Wallabies mounted the most heroic of heroic comebacks to turn that game around in the dying moments. Their fifth and final Test of an autumn campaign that has at times looked hapless ended in brilliant fashion, with several of their fringe players coming to the fore. Nawaqanitawase in particular announced himself to the world today, and with the World Cup on the horizon, results like these can certainly buoy Australian rugby going into 2023. 

What’s next for Wales?

  • Wayne Pivac’s Wales have now completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having picked up a win over Argentina, and defeats vs New Zealand, Georgia and Australia. They are next in action at the 2023 Six Nations, where they start against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, February 4.
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What a way to close out Round 3 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific, having witnessed such a close encounter with the Brumbies v Waratahs Saturday night match-up last night. Brumbies fired off with the early lead in the first half (17-6), although the Tahs have made up for some lost time after the break but fell so short by seven points (27-20).

The Brumbies were so organized when it comes to their forward pack, especially in the first 40 with two tries on the board. They handled the Tahs well thanks to the opposition team’s poor start, where they took great use in return while building persistence before the Brums were able to get the job done. Now the home side may have begun to falter with the Tahs rebound in this next run after half-time, despite the additional TRY from Irae Simone in the midfield. However, a few late changes and a huge defensive shift towards the end saw the Brumbies come out unscathed.

Meanwhile, unlucky from the Tahs with a much-improved team after half-time, where they almost extended this game through golden point & have an extended shot towards upsetting the Brums in the process. The change of attack spearheaded by fly-half Ben Donaldson saw him successfully find his path through the gate, having called out 1-2 support numbers, such as Angus Bell & Will Harris, to finish the playmaking work for him. They just wished they marry up their brilliant 2nd 40 into the first half, when a poor start saw the Tahs fall left behind before they left it too late with not much time to stay in contention.

The Tahs will be back playing on 2 pm next Sunday v Western Force at Leichardt Oval in Sydney, while the Brumbies travel to Melbourne on Friday night v Rebels at AAMI Park.

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Hats off to Rob Valetini who was outstanding last night on the blindside back row at the Brumbies, as he never backs down every time Valetini has the ball on hand. It goes to show that Valetini has so much physicality and some speed to burn down, having played a huge part in the Brumbies’ fantastic first-half performance that includes a try for himself. And he’s blessed to contribute in this forward pack while firing on all cylinders, where Valetini was rewarded with Wallabies experiences by his side at Super Rugby level.

Next up is Nick Frost on the second row at No.5 for the Brumbies, where he also put in a full show last night. Like Valetini, he has the tall and physical package that kept the Tahs quiet under his toes, especially when Frost made good use of the opposition’s slow start earlier on, before he held them back defensively. The Brums did pull him off the bench for a bit after he started 70 odd minutes, but he came back two minutes later where Frost prevented the Tahs from leveling the score into golden point. Imagine what Frost could do all game with credit from a productive Brumbs forward line, having scored the team’s 2nd try in the first half, as it wouldn’t be possible to get the job done without him.

And Ben Donaldson gave the Brumbies a few nightmares when running into their end, especially in the 2nd half, as he was the standout player last night at fly-half for the Waratahs. We love how he injects some pace and kicking power when Donaldson has the ball in hand, in which he can control the ball whatever he likes to play with the attack. His two assisted tries to Angus Bell & Will Harris after half-time have put the Tahs back in the contention, that almost went into extra time & have another shot towards winning, but they just left it too late following their poor start in the first half. He’s 22 right now with so much playmaking and kicking quality potential to nail down a starting Tahs spot at No.10 every week, as his contribution will send a much decent threat to any other Super Rugby team out there under his watch.

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Great to see the long-running New South Wales v Queensland rivalry return for another year last night, even with the wet conditions that went extra competitive while playing through the rain. Both teams were level at the break (10-10) after a close first 40 with one TRY and penalty goal apiece, but it’s the Reds who ran away in the end with another win by a narrow four-point buffer (16-20) at Leichardt Oval.

The Reds fired off very well with the early head start thanks to Jordan Petaia with the TRY & James O’Connor for the kicking and assist to Petaia, having shown patience when they had the ball in hand. Although they were tested with the scrum at times that led to lost points over to the Tahs’, the away team though managed to come out unscathed. We love how they took care of the ball with excellent planning and communication thanks to the Tahs’ mistakes in the 2nd half, which eventually gave sub-back rower Ryan Smith a way to get past the Tahs’ through the gate down low. Excellent teamwork by the Reds’ players and their use of substitutions that got the best out of ways to win games by their head coach, Brad Thorn.

Meanwhile, the Tahs’ responded well to the Reds’ early start when exposing the opposition’s weaknesses in defense, which has helped them level at half-time, 10-10. The scrum looks spot on with or without the ball feed, where Will Harris successfully converted into a TRY during the first-half at No.8 alongside some winning penalties. However, they were just unlucky not to hold them off until the end, not to blame Ben Donaldson’s brilliant kicking into the goal posts at fly-half. A few mistakes made in the 2nd half with a poor line-out, isolated executions, and defense eventually cost them by a narrow four-point margin.

The Reds will now travel to HBF Park in Perth next Friday at 7 pm local time/10 pm AEDT where they will face the Western Force, while the Waratahs will have their first away game of 2022 next Saturday night v ACT Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

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Congratulations to incoming Waratahs coach Darren Coleman who just guided the LA Giltinis to an Major League Rugby Championship on their first ever season.

This is a massive achievement through a group of star-studded characters that can pass on these hometown players & learn a thing or two from them at this club.

It’s something Darren would do to bring this vibe when he returns home from Los Angeles later this year, as we haven’t seen much of this kind of structure since Michael Chieka left after 2015.

As it stands you got Jake Gordon, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Ben Donaldson, Alex Newsome & Angus Bell staying on, while a number of key players are coming back too such as Michael Hooper, Jed Holloway & Ned Hedigan.

And some of the new players he’d like to see at Daceyville would be the best produced & proven at club rugby level, having coached in the Shute Shield for many years including Warringah & Gordon with two titles in 2017 & 2020 respectively.

These two important characteristics shows why a three year contract is enough time for Darren to rebuild this franchise.

We’ll also see if Adam Freier and Stephen Hoiles follows Darren as well or stay in LA.

Up to the board now to back Darren with inside knowledge of the NSW rugby system & get the Tahs back to winning ways from next year regardless of the Super Rugby format.

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