Waratahs go down in Invercargill


The NSW Waratahs have finished their Vodafone Super Rugby season with a tough 49-12 loss to the Highlanders in Invercargill.

Heading to the south of New Zealand minus five internationals was always going to be a difficult task, and the Highlanders got off to a barnstorming start to put the Waratahs on the back foot.

Both teams showed they were keen to play the territory game early on and after a string of penalties to the home side, some opportunistic work at the breakdown got the Waratahs out of trouble and allowed Mack Mason to kick to space and turn the Highlanders around.

That good work was quickly undone however, as the Highlanders returned serve thanks to an energetic kick chase from Josh McKay – forcing an error from Will Miller as the fullback scored the game’s opener.

Tevita Li had their second only minutes later, as Ioane floated a ball to the winger who did well to beat two defenders and score in the corner.

The Highlanders showed they weren’t afraid to keep the ball in hand in the greasy conditions, rolling through nearly 20 phases to score their third as Franklin crashed over from close range.

Ioane was on song with the boot and extended the hosts lead to three converted tries.

The Waratahs couldn’t make their way into the game, starved of possession and territory, with matters made worse when Nahola got the Highlanders fourth.

They were able to respond shortly after through Newsome, thanks to some smart play from Mack Mason. The flyhalf found Rona with a cross-field kick, as Wells supported out wide to eventually find the fullback in space to score.

The Highlanders were awarded a penalty try from a rolling maul on the Waratahs try line, with the infringement also seeing Tom Robertson head to the sin bin.

Walden finished the first half with the Highlanders sixth as they made the most of their numerical advantage, with the teams heading to the sheds with the score at 42-7.

Possession began to level at the beginning of the second half and scores remained the same until just beyond the 70th minute, as Mack Mason got an attack started from within the Waratahs half before finishing the play with their second try.

A charging run from Rob Thompson finished things off, as the Highlanders got their first points for the half after the full-time siren sounded.






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