What a way to finish Round 9 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific as we turn our attention between the Australian and New Zealand teams battling each other with six rounds left to go. NSW Waratahs were off to a stellar start in the 1st half with a decent lead ahead of half-time at 7-24, while Western Force began to make up lost time with three tries on the board in the 2nd half alone. However, the game has already handed over to the Tahs by that stage when they’re too good to pull off a comfortable win at HBF Park in Perth. The final score is 24-41.
NSW Waratahs looked outstanding; left, right, center, tonight; on all fronts. Their first-half spell was unbelievable when the Tahs rack up three tries on the board off the back of the Force’s poor start, such as; Mark Nawaquanitawase, Lalakai Foketi & Michael Hooper. And they continued to extend their winning margin alongside the double try brace from Alex Newsome after the half-time break, even though there were some mistakes with the ill-discipline and that blunder at one point from Dylan Pietsch on the left-wing. It’s nice to see the Tahs high & flying now in 5th on the ladder under new coach Darren Coleman; players such as Michael Hooper & Jed Holloway, who have returned from overseas, will play a key role in their playoff push & the development of the Tahs youngsters.
Western Force just still held on to their place within the Playoffs bubble in 8th; they need to start acting fast now if they want to stay there, especially with the New Zealand teams around the corner for the remaining six rounds this season beginning next weekend. There’s no problem with their defensive shape that helped the Force win a couple of penalties. Although, they can be patient when building some pressure with the ball going forward. However, they only dominated the 2nd half alone with three tries on top of one lone big score in the first 40. They need more support with the executions & cut the ill-discipline from the start if the Force wants to stay in this fight by winning games.
The Tahs will open the Super Round at 6 pm AEST with the Chiefs from Waikato in Hamilton, NZ, where all of the Round 10 games are held at AAMI Park in Melbourne next Friday. Meanwhile, the Force has an opportunity to strike back when they take on Moana Pasifika straight after this Tahs v Chiefs match-up at 8.30 pm AEST.
After a winless 2021 campaign of 13 games, the Waratahs have finally ended their long-running drought last night with a comfortable 40-10 win v Fijian Drua at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, NSW.
It’s great to see the Tahs forward pack make up most of the work earlier on in the 1st half at 21-3, where Will Harris and Dave Porecki added a couple of big scores through the TRY line with credit to the Drua’s dirty work via the advantage. They’re able to build on that comfortable start after the break when another forward at tighthead in Angus Bell produced two brilliant finishes, one for an assist to Inside midfielder, Lalakai Foketi, and another for himself thanks to the offload from the returning Jed Holloway on the second row. And their skipper at half-back, Jake Gordon stole a messy Drua attacking shape, when he intercepted the ball on the 10-metre line & ran over halfway on the run home that summed up the Tahs flying start to 2022.
Meanwhile, the Fijian Drua may not get what they wanted with the loss during their first game at Super Rugby level. Their series of disciplinary mistakes not only worsened their defense but also limited their time in the attack against the Tahs territory, especially at one point in the 2nd half. They just rushed through it with numbers all over the place, before Jake Gordon exploited their weakness & ran off over half the pitch towards the touch zone that cost more huge points on the board. There are some moments made, however, when fly-half Baden Kerr scored their first-ever points on the board, while we covered skipper & No.8 Nemani Nagusa on the Top 3 players list, who scored the Drua’s first-ever TRY later in the 2nd half. It’s still early days though as it will take time to become competitive, especially when facing the Australian and New Zealand teams regularly.
The Tahs will remain at home next week, but this time they will be at Leichardt Oval where they will welcome another State of Origin rivalry v the Queensland Reds, who will be facing the Melbourne Rebels at (Suncorp Stadium) home in Brisbane tonight.
Meanwhile, the Drua will head off to Canberra for another tough encounter v Brumbies at GIO Stadium next Saturday at 2.35 pm.
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.