Sarel shines for Waratahs

2012-02-11 08:10

Sydney - South African discard Sarel Pretorius on Friday took the torch from Kurtley Beale as the Waratahs' X-factor with a strong display in a trial against Samoa in Tamworth.

Super Rugby's leading try-scorer in 2011, the lightning-fast Pretorius did not waste any time asserting himself for his new team, barking orders and defending ardently.

His exertions were greeted by raucous applause from the new Tahs coach, Michael Foley. Wherever the stocky No 9 went he attracted defenders, often two at a time.

The Waratahs promised they wouldn't kick away possession in 2012, and insisted they'd put boot to ball in attacking situations. And that's what Pretorius did in only the 15th minute, putting through a deft grubber for stand-in fullback Brackin Karauria-Henry to pounce on.

Seven minutes later, he was at it again, rescuing the ball from a messy breakdown to get a quick pass away for wing Lachie Turner to cross out wide in heavy rain.

And within another 10, having bamboozled the Samoan ruck for much of the match, Pretorius skipped across the line from the breakdown to put the Tahs out to a 31-0 lead against a relatively unknown Samoan team.

Even better news for Tahs fans, Pretorious's halves partner, Berrick Barnes, also looked good before the Wallabies utility injured a finger.

Of three first-quarter kicks, two won the Waratahs serious attacking territory while the third was a textbook over-the-line chip for his flying wingers.

''I thought Sarel was very good and I thought Berrick Barnes was exceptional tonight,'' Foley said.

''With the captaincy and controlling the game as well as he did, I thought Berrick was brilliant. We were moving the ball around well and when the rain came down I thought the boys adjusted particularly well.

''That discipline in the first game of the year, when they are particularly excited to be out there, I thought it was excellent. The backs certainly did a lot of work around the kick chase and I certainly was impressed with their condition.''

It was Barnes's set plays with Pretorius and No 12 Tom Carter that deserved real attention, the pair linking up on several occasions to execute run-around plays perfectly.

Barnes looked more comfortable than at any time in a Waratahs jersey. Carter too, made his presence felt, getting heavily involved in the rolling maul from two lineouts to notch a double inside the first 30 minutes.

But in a rain-soaked match, it wasn't just the playmakers who impressed. New tight-head Paddy Ryan has emerged from the off-season a picture of power.

Tall and lean, his mobility around the park was impressive, as shown when surprising bursts of speed resulted in him breaking the line on several occasions.

Together with a trimmed- down Sekope Kepu - who scored the Waratahs' third push-over try with a catch and drive at the lineout - the Waratahs front row was strong.

As was No 8 Pat McCutcheon, who did his best Phil Waugh impersonation by getting aggressive at the breakdown and being a magnet for confrontation.

''I thought we played strongly,'' Foley said. ''The forwards had a lot of work to do and like the backs, I was really impressed with their condition. I thought the forwards played really well.

And when you're playing in those slippery conditions and the backs aren't seeing much ball, it's easy to lose concentration. So I thought they played with great discipline.

''There's a lot of work to be done, but that's exactly what I wanted from this match. First game of the year; not too bad.''

The Samoans scored their only try of the first half with just eight minutes remaining on the clock, the first-string Waratahs XV leaving the field 38-5 victors.

It wasn't all good news for the Waratahs on Friday, with wing Lachlan Turner suffering what could be a long-term hamstring injury and Barnes damaging his finger.

Rugby Heaven

  • Bulldozer - 2012-02-11 09:09

    The Stormers aren't sorry that Sarel is gone. They've got Bolla.

      Shaun Robinson - 2012-02-11 09:31

      @ Bulldozer - As a Stormer's supporter myself Bolla is really nothing to be proud about.

      Steenbra - 2012-02-11 10:38

      Lets see if Sarel can tackle.. he had the worst stats for tackling ! Stormers may have Bolla, who incidently shows more heart than ur captain Spies.. Must be crap being a bulls supporter and having a lady boyfor a captain.

      Marcell - 2012-02-11 15:23

      Seker sad om na 11 jaar nog steeds geen wen.

  • Chappies ZA - 2012-02-11 09:46

    Sarel was definately one of the better scrummies the past few years. I hope he kicks ass against the SA teams. All the best Sarel and well done to all the guys who let him go.

      Wimpie - 2012-02-11 10:32

      TRAGIC !!!!!!!!! but i agree with you !!!1

      Anton - 2012-02-11 17:11

      We could not afford to keep him at the Cheetahs Chappies and that useless "McCloud" of the Sharks were taken to the World Cup. So why not try somewhere new?

  • auratius - 2012-02-11 10:07

    Bolla is Bolla. Sarel is class. I was fortunate to watch the game highlights and this guy is just brilliant around the pack. I ditched the Stormers for this year. I will support them once the coach gets the boot and all the old toppies like Habana and friends leave that team.

      Steenbra - 2012-02-11 11:56

      Crap supporter.. Sarel is great on attack but a poor defender! Bolla is well past his best a demon defender, unlike you he has heart. Poor supporter if you ditch your team

  • Wimpie - 2012-02-11 10:32

    With him gone...the sad cheetah story continues....

      Anton - 2012-02-11 17:13

      Lets talk again later this year Bokkoors. Cheetahs will end better than last season and will not be the worst SA team. However, it is sad that the Cheetahs don't have the funds to compete against the Blue, Black and Hooped wallets...

  • Priester - 2012-02-11 10:55

    @Steenbra - Jou ou suur gat!!!

      Steenbra - 2012-02-11 11:57

      jy moet pasop. my gat mag suur wees maar pasop as die lady boys van moftus jou gat vind

      Priester - 2012-02-11 12:55

      Steenbra hulle kan nie, ek bly innie kaap jou ou suurgat. Daar is hoop vir jou my maat, support 'n wen span dan sal jy ook beter voel. Blou Bul Groete!

      Marcell - 2012-02-11 15:25

      Steenbras is te dom om die Bulle te ondersteun. Te veel papsak.

      Steenbra - 2012-02-11 18:01

      Marcel en priester julle is verlore, papsak is wat julle manne van daaikant van die Juskei suip. Of anders spandeer julle te veel tyd on the plase..Pasop as daai lady boys kaap toe kom.. Julle gaan jou opsoek of anders kan jy ook Bronx toe gaan na die game

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