Super Rugby: Waratahs run down Reds

Tahs run down Reds TweetFacebookDaryl Gibson may not have to vacate his chair for Alan Jones just yet.

For the seventh time in a row, the Waratahs have won the interstate clash with the Queensland Reds, this time in an ill-tempered affair at Suncorp Stadium.

It may well have kick-started their season, at long last.

Bernard Foley kicked his team to victory. With the Reds smashed 16-5 on the penalty count, Foley (19 points) made them pay, booting four of his six penalties in the second to add to a pair of conversions.

The Reds scored four tries to two, but they lost Izzy Perese on the stroke of half-time when he was shown a yellow card. Poor discipline would be the flavour of the evening, although the officials were roundly booed off the field by the 18,781-strong crowd.

Bad sports up north? Not really, because the night had a decent, old-school feel from the start. It was an entertaining match, spiteful at times, before eventually being bogged down by the whistle. The code needed some emotion and finally got some.

George Smith was immense for the Reds, as was Michael Hooper for the Tahs. After the debacle against the Kings, he needed to lead from the front and did so, producing a number of match-turning plays that proved crucial in the wash-up.

Karmichael Hunt ended the night limping but was involved in everything. With Israel Folau well contained again, there are more than a few suggesting he should strongly be considered for Wallaby fullback.

The Waratahs certainly started like they meant business. They won a penalty in almost record time, attacked the Reds line with crisp passing and strong running lines and should have been ahead 3-0 if not for a surprise penalty miss from Foley. It was his only blemish.

A mistake from Rob Horne would gift the Reds quality ball in an even better spot. Scott Higginbotham would brush off Hooper at the ruck and scoop it inside for Hunt, who was untouched to set up a 7-0 lead.

The Reds were opening up the Tahs with worrying ease, offloading in the tackle and starting to put NSW on the back foot. The Waratahs needed to find and they did with some spirited attack of their own.

Passes started sticking and they went 70 metres, side to side, before Nick Phipps lunged at the line and claimed the try as he burrowed through tackles, locking the scores at 7-7 after 20 minutes.

The Reds sparked back into action as Lukhan Tui thundered over, backing up Hunt who was once again instrumental.

Quade Cooper’s miss left it at 12-7 but he made up soon after, pouncing on the intercept, running 50 metres then putting the left-foot grubber in for Perese, who finished for the 19-7 lead after 32 minutes.

A Foley penalty reduced the deficit to nine but the visitors needed more than the occasional penalty to get them back in the mix. Stand up Hooper, who came up with huge plays at both ends to put the Tahs right back in the hunt.

His turnover on Samu Kerevi might have stopped a try, before he ran a sensational line to score under the posts. And when Perese was given a yellow card on the stroke of half-time for attacking the man in the air, the tide began to turn.

Queensland’s 19-17 quickly turned into a 20-19 lead for NSW as Foley bagged an early penalty, only for Stephen Moore to score his first try since returning to the Reds (his last was in 2006) when the home side powered over with the rolling maul.

By now, the penalty count was hugely worry for Queensland, with the tally at 11-4 to NSW as the Waratahs did their utmost to respond. Foley found his range from 40m out to make it 26-23 as the Reds struggled to stay on the right side of the referee.

Again, Foley would strike. With their 15th penalty of the night, the Tahs playmaker levelled scores at 26 to set up a nail-biting final eight minutes of play. And with their 16th, Foley would nail the coffin shut.

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