Waratahs go close against Brumbies


9/06/2019





The NSW Waratahs have gone down 24-35 to the Brumbies in a hard-fought final home game of the Vodafone Super Rugby season at Bankwest Stadium.

The Brumbies dominated the opening few minutes, but an opportunistic play from Damien Fitzpatrick turned the momentum the home side’s way as he scooped up a loose ball and kicked downfield for flying Curtis Rona.

Some smart work at the breakdown saw a quick turnover and the Waratahs with ball in hand, and after rolling through plenty of phases they earned a penalty which saw Foley open the scoring from right in front.

The Brumbies scored the first major of the night shortly after, as Rory Arnold crashed over from close range after plenty of work from their forwards in close.

The visitors showed they weren’t afraid to send it wide either, as a break from Tom Banks made way for Andy Muirhead to barge over eand the Brumbies lead to 11 points.

Irae Simone crossed just beyond the 20 minute mark and the Brumbies lead was 18.

The Brumbies strike weapon – the rolling maul – was dominant throughout proceedings and Fainga’a would benefit as he has all season, getting over in the 35th minute with the lead now stretching to 25.

The Waratahs went close to clawing one back before the break after some slick build up and a break from Fitzpatrick, but Lachlan Swinton couldn’t handle cleanly over the line.

The score line would stay 28-3 and the Waratahs would be left with a big defect to overturn to keep their season alive.

Nick Phipps – playing his final home game before departing for London Irish – got the Waratahs back into it with a try in the 48th minute. After selling the Brumbies defence with a big dummy, Phipps slammed the ball over the line at full stretch for his 24th Super Rugby try.

From there the Waratahs were able to build pressure in the Brumbies half as they dominated territory, but were unable to break through.

Jed Holloway found space but dropped the ball over the line – summing up the Waratahs night – as they made plenty of inroads into the Brumbies defence but lacked execution in key moments.

A cheeky kick in behind from Foley found Ashley-Cooper to score the Waratahs second and open things up for the final 10 minutes.

Thoughts of a comeback were quickly thwarted as a dubious knock on decision put the Waratahs under pressure, and Cusak quickly went over for the Brumbies to kill off the match.

Curtis Rona scored a conciliation try in his final home match before heading to Irish with Phipps and Kepu, with a conversation from Foley taking it to 24-35.


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