Vodacom Super 14

Waratahs crash to defeat

2010-04-30 11:11
Adam Thomson (File)
Invercargill - The Highlanders put a big dent in the Waratahs Super 14 semi-final ambitions with a shock 26-10 win in Invercargill on Friday.

The Waratahs were lying fifth at the start of the round but never got to grips with the cold wet conditions or the never-say-die spirit of the Highlanders.

The New Zealanders, who were 12th on the table, ran in three tries to one -- including a pair for flanker Adam Thomson -- for only their third win of the season after 11 games.

Thomson was one of the Highlanders' standouts, along with hooker Jason Rutledge who made crucial contributions all over the field.

The Waratahs' semi-final hopes will now depend on their last two games against the Chiefs and the Hurricanes, as well as the fortunes of the other hopefuls.

But Waratahs captain Phil Waugh said his team still had the semis in their sights.

"We're not out of it. We just have to back up and perform next week -- it's do or die for us now," he said afterwards.

The Highlanders dominated much of the first half through their hyperactive forward pack, with the scrums the only area where the Waratahs had an advantage.

In contrast, the Waratahs were sluggish, obviously not relishing the cold, wet and windy conditions in New Zealand's far south.

The early forward dominance paid dividends after nine minutes when Highlanders No. 8 Steven Setephano forced his way over the tryline, after breaking from the back of a scrum five metres out.

Three minutes later, Thomson collected a clever wide pass from halfback and fellow All Black Jimmy Cowan for a converted try that stretched the lead to 12-0.

Waratahs fullback Kurtley Beale struck back with eight minutes to go in the spell, running inside the defence and just evading the despairing grasp of Cowan to narrow the deficit to 12-10 at the break after an earlier penalty from flyhalf Daniel Halangahu.

In the second spell, the Highlanders used the wind advantage to keep the Waratahs pinned in their half for extended periods with long kicks.

Thomson's second try came only five minutes after the break, when the Highlanders spread the ball to the right flank, with fullback Israel Dagg and lock Josh Bekhuis featuring before Thomson took the final pass to go over.

Poor discipline from the Waratahs and relentless pressure from the home side saw Highlanders' flyhalf Matt Berquist add three penalties to stretch the lead to 26-10.


15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Kenny Lynn, 12. Jason Shoemark, 11. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10. Matt Berquist, 9. Jimmy Cowan, 8. Steven Setephano, 7. Alando Soakai, 6. Adam Thompson, 5. Hayden Triggs, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 3. Clint Newland, 2. Jason Rutledge, 1. Chris King

Substitutes: 16. Peter Mirrielees, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. Joe Tuineau, 19. John Hardie, 20. Scott Cowan, 21. Robbie Robinson, 22. James Paterson

15. Kurtley Beale, 14. Lachie Turner, 13. Tom Carter, 12. Berrick Barnes, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Daniel Halangahu, 9. Josh Holmes, 8. Ben Mowen, 7. Phil Waugh (captain), 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Dean Mumm, 3. Al Baxter, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Dan Palmer

Substitutes: 16. Damien Fitzpatrick, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Chris Thomson, 19. Patrick McCutcheon, 20. Luke Burgess, 21. Rory Sidey, 22. Sosene Anesi

Read more on:    super 14  |  waratahs  |  highlanders

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