Sydney - The Reds defused an aggressive Waratahs to
beat their traditional rivals 14-12 in their Super Rugby clash in
Sydney on Saturday and set up a playoffs clash against the Crusaders.
The Reds will finish on 58 points and fifth overall,
irrespective of matches later on Saturday, and will face the seven-times
champions, who finished fourth following their 25-17 win over the Hurricanes, in Christchurch next week.
While the Reds
had their final position in the playoffs to consider, the match was also
seen as part of a set of selection trials for new Wallabies coach, and
current Queensland boss, Ewen McKenzie ahead of the Rugby Championship
Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper was undoubtedly under most
scrutiny after he was not wanted by former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans
for the British and Irish Lions series.
Cooper was at his enigmatic best on Saturday.
quick thinking, ability to involve himself in play and passing and
kicking skills led to Ben Lucas' first half try while another was
disallowed to Rod Davies after Luke Morahan had knocked on following a
clever grubber kick from the flyhalf.
Cooper, however, was also
intercepted four times, the first of which led to a Berrick Barnes try
from 80 metres out after scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin had grabbed the
no-look, inside pass from Cooper.
The 25-year-old's tactical kicking was also hit and miss and he was put under immense pressure by the Waratahs' defence.
fullback Cam Crawford had scored an earlier try for the hosts, which
McKibbin converted, while Cooper had opened the scoring with an early
McKibbin failed to extend the Waratahs' 12-8 lead at
halftime when he missed an easy penalty early in the second half before
Cooper dragged his side into a 14-12 lead midway through the second
spell following two successful penalties.
Barnes had the
opportunity to snatch victory with two late penalties but missed both,
with the second fading wide of the left upright with 90 seconds
remaining, and an attempted drop goal after the hooter sounded that
sailed wide right.Teams:Waratahs:
15 Cam Crawford, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12
Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8
Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Kane
Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn
Substitutes: (from) - Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Will
Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Lucas, Tom Carter, Ben
15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben
Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby,
8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ed
O'Donoghue, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes
Substitutes: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Dom Shipperley