Canberra - The Waratahs finished their pre-season in style, beating the Brumbies 15-7 at Viking Park in Canberra Thursday.
With Benn Robinson and Dean Mumm returning for their first matches in 2010, the NSW forward pack dominated from the outset to hold the upper hand at the scrum contest and consistently stealing the Brumbies lineout ball.
It was from a set piece that the Tahs drew first blood in the tenth minute with a driving maul from a five-metre lineout resulting in a try to captain Phil Waugh.
However the lead was short-lived with the Brumbies counterattacking through Randwick wing Francis Fainifo, before the speedster linked with Northern Suburbs fullback Adam Ashley Cooper to tie the scores.
Gordon’s Stirling Mortlock converted for a 7-5 lead to the home side.
The fight for field position continued to be hard-fought, and in the seventh minute of the second quarter Berrick Barnes slotted a penalty to edge the Tahs in front by one, which is how the score remained until half-time.
Late inclusion Kurtley Beale came on after half-time and immediately had an impact with a scything run through the middle of the field before a sequence of interchange passing was halted by the Brumbies defence.
Coach Chris Hickey consistently started ringing the changes in the third quarter and it was two replacements that linked for the visitors’ second try with Peter Betham beating three defenders on a kick return before drawing the last defender and passing to Josh Holmes to score.
Daniel Halangahu added the extras for an eight-point lead.
The Brumbies continued to apply pressure in the last quarter against a relatively inexperienced NSW lineup, however the Tahs held firm right to the final whistle to record a 15-7 victory.
The squad returns to Sydney on Friday before preparing for their opening round encounter with the Queensland Reds on Saturday 13 February in Brisbane.
Waratahs 15 – tries: Phil Waugh, Josh Holmes. Con: Daniel Halangahu Pen: Berrick Barnes
Brumbies 7 – try: Adam Ashley-Cooper. Con: Stirling Mortlock