Brumbies can’t cope with super Waratahs
THE New South Waratahs' Super Rugby title defence is back on track after a bruising 28-13 win over the Brumbies in Sydney.
The match featured plenty of niggle, as well a complaint of a homophobic slur in the second half, made by Brumbies star David Pocock to referee Craig Joubert.
The South African whistle-blower said he did not hear the remarks - allegedly made at a scrum - but asked Waratahs captain Michael Hooper to speak to his forwards about the matter.
"I'm getting some pretty aggressive comments coming from your guys - that there are homophobic slurs (being made)," Joubert said.
Hooper replied: "We're not into that."
The match began at a frenetic pace, with the Brumbies getting away to a flying start courtesy of a try to scrumhalf Matt Toomua who sliced through some lazy Tahs defence after just three minutes to score what turned out to be the only try for the visitors.
That certainly wasn't for want of opportunities, the Waratahs defence simply set up a brick wall, the pressure forcing numerous turnovers in what should have been good scoring positions for the Brumbies.
As well going home to Canberra without any points, the Brumbies also suffered a blow when blockbusting Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani was forced off the field in the 67th minute with what appeared to be a serious shoulder problem.
The good news for coach Stephen Larkham is the Brumbies have the bye this weekend, and Pocock got through unscathed in his return from an ankle injury sustained in round one.
There were no such issues for the home side which moved to eighth on the table, just one point outside the top six.
After going four matches without a try, star fullback Israel Folau not only scored a brilliant five-pointer late in the first half, he also produced some stunning evasive skills to beat seven players before setting up hooker Tolu Latu for the sealer inside the final 10 minutes. Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley were also mesmerising at times in a display that suggested the defending champions were more than capable of mounting another serious challenge in 2015.
HURRICANES 20 (R Goodes, T Perenara tries; B Barrett 2 con, 2 pen) HIGHLANDERS 13 (L Sopoaga try; L Sopoaga con, 2 pen); in Dunedin on Friday night
LIONS 20 (M Boshoff, L Mapoe tries; E Jantjies 2 con, 2 pen) REBELS 16 (M Inman, J Placid tries; M Harris 2 pen); in Melbourne on Friday night
CRUSADERS 57 (J. Taufua 2, D Carter 2, I Dagg, N Nadolo, D Havili tries, penalty try; D Carter 7 goals, pen); in Christchurch on Saturday night
BULLS 25 (M van der Merwe try; H Pollard con, 6 pen) WESTERN FORCE 24 (A. Coleman, S Wykes, K Godwin tries; L Burton 2 con, S Ebersohn con, pen); in Pretoria on Saturday night
SHARKS 12 (P Lambie 4 pens) CHIEFS 11 (S Cane try; A Cruden 2 pen); in Durban on Saturday night
WARATAHS 28 (B Foley, I Folau, T Latu tries; B Foley 2 con, 2 pen, K Beale pen) BRUMBIES 13 (M Toomua try; C Leali'ifano con, 2 pen) in Sydney yesterday afternoon