Waratahs' 'grit' hailed after emotionally draining week

    2019-04-21 07:56

    Sydney - Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has hailed his team's grit for proving there is life after Israel Folau following what he admitted was an emotionally draining week.

    The 'Tahs staged an admirable fightback in their Super Rugby clash against the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney on Saturday, winning 23-20 after going into half-time trailing 20-7.

    It capped a tumultuous time for the team with their star fullback Folau - Super Rugby's all-time record try scorer - suspended over anti-gay comments that saw Rugby Australia announce its intention to sack him.

    He faces an upcoming code of conduct tribunal to determine his fate, with the deeply religious 30-year-old having potentially played his last game for the Waratahs and the Wallabies.

    Gibson said the dressing room afterwards was "really subdued".

    "Very pleased with the grit that we showed, particularly given the circumstances of the week, it was a real subdued changing room," he told reporters.

    "It's a weird feeling. We've won the game, but the boys, the emotion of the week and to come out with a win, it's been good, but it's a strange feeling.

    "I just think it's been an emotional week all around and to come out here and perform well, get a win, it's job done, but it takes a lot out of people emotionally and mentally."

    In Folau's absence, Kurtley Beale moved into his fullback position and took several high balls with ease, with Karmichael Hunt and Adam Ashley-Cooper marshalling the centres.

    Gibson had particular praise for Beale and the way he handled his new role.

    "At half-time I said to the boys we'd made two errors off the back of pressure and that was the difference between the two sides. Second half we dominated territory and played very cleverly," he said.

    "KB was a standout in that regard for us, I thought he kicked very cleverly and he kept the Rebels out of our area which was critical."

    Skipper Michael Hooper also credited the backline for stepping up, notably Bernard Foley who scored a try and kicked five goals.

    "We had a game plan there and it sort of wasn't really working, so really, really happy, particularly with Bernard, KB, some our leaders in the backline and how those guys went about their business at half time," Hooper said.

    "The direction they gave the whole team to come out in the second half... I sort of sat back at the end of the game and said 'Jeez that was a real step up from some of the backline leaders and really impressive from them'."

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Breaking News


    Friday, 24 May 2019
    • Chiefs v Reds, FMG Stadium Waikato 09:35
    • Brumbies v Bulls, GIO Stadium 11:35
    Saturday, 25 May 2019
    • Sunwolves v Rebels, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium 07:15
    • Crusaders v Blues, AMI Stadium 09:35
    • Waratahs v Jaguares, Allianz Stadium 11:45
    • Stormers v Highlanders, Cape Town 15:05
    • Sharks v Lions, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15
    Friday, 31 May 2019
    • Blues v Bulls, Eden Park 09:35
    • Rebels v Waratahs, AAMI Park 11:45


    18 May 2019
    17 May 2019
    12 May 2019
    11 May 2019
    10 May 2019
    04 May 2019
    03 May 2019
    27 April 2019
    26 April 2019
    20 April 2019
    19 April 2019
    13 April 2019
    12 April 2019
    06 April 2019
    05 April 2019
    30 March 2019
    29 March 2019
    24 March 2019
    23 March 2019
    22 March 2019
    16 March 2019
    15 March 2019
    09 March 2019
    08 March 2019
    02 March 2019
    01 March 2019
    23 February 2019
    22 February 2019
    16 February 2019
    15 February 2019


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Bulls (Q)
    • Jaguares (wc)
    • Lions (wc)
    • Sharks (wc)
    • Stormers

    Opinion Poll

    Which of the 4 South African team will finish with the fewest Super Rugby SA Conference points?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.