Waratahs beat Blues in thriller
March 23, 2013
The Stormers' Gio Aplon evades the Brumbies' defence at Newlands © Getty Images
Waratahs 30 - 27 Blues Force 10 - 19 Cheetahs Reds 23 - 18 Bulls Crusaders 55 - 20 Southern Kings Chiefs 19 - 7 Highlanders
Blues Bulls Cheetahs Chiefs Crusaders Force Highlanders New South Wales Waratahs Queensland Reds Reds Southern Kings Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs moved up to third place in the Australian Conference and 11th overall in the Super Rugby table after narrowly beating the Blues 30-27 at the Allianz Stadium.
A last minute penalty from Bernard Foley went over after the siren to clinch the win and end what was a tough match for the Tahs. The Blues led 24-10 at half-time thanks to three first-half tries from hooker James Parsons, fly-half Chris Noakes and full back Charles Piutau.
However Foley produced a stunning second-half performance, scoring 15 points in total including a try for himself. Waratahs full back Israel Folau also went over the whitewash to help the Australian side take the points. Blues are currently third in the New Zealand conference and sixth overall.
The Brumbies' unbeaten start to the Super Rugby season came unstuck in Cape Town on Saturday with the Stormers claiming a 35-22 victory in their clash at Newlands.
Jake White's men were gunning for a record eight consecutive away victories and trying to match their previous best start to a season of five straight wins. They got to within three points late in the match but an intercept try to Stormers reserve back Gerhard van den Heever in the 75th minute sealed their fate. Despite the loss the Brumbies remain top of the Super Rugby table, two points clear of the Chiefs.
The New Zealand Conference topping Chiefs overcame the Highlanders 19-7 in an underwhelming affair at Waikato Stadium on Friday night. Chiefs winger Tim Nanai-Williams made the visitors pay for an early mistake with his third try of the season. But it was the boot of Gareth Anscombe that proved the difference for the defending champions.
His 14-point haul negated a first-half try from Aaron Smith and ensured there was enough on the scoreboard to hold on for a tough win and climb six points clear atop the New Zealand conference. It was a sobering moment for the southern men, who slumped to their fourth consecutive loss and remain firmly at last place in the overall standings.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Quade Cooper inspired the Queensland Reds to a narrow 23-18 win over the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium to help maintain his side's undefeated home record against the South African team. The Reds fly-half scored a try, two conversions and three penalties to make up the share of the 23 points scored by the Australian side. A first-half try from full back Jonathon Lance added to the total and despite five penalties from Bulls No.10 Louis Fouche and one more from Morne Steyne it as not enough to overhaul the resurgent Reds, who suffered a shock loss to Western Force ahead of the match-up.
The Sharks inflicted a record 10-try 64-7 defeat on the Melbourne Rebels in Durban to go top of the South Africa Conference. The Rebels flew to South Africa confident of cracking their first ever win abroad but instead were embarrassed by the rampant Sharks. Their previous biggest defeat was 53-3 at the hands of Queensland in March 2011. The home side had only managed three tries in three rounds leading into the match but eclipsed that in the 34th minute when skipper Keegan Daniel charged across the line for try number four. Compounding the misery for the Rebels, star playmaker James O'Connor was yellow-carded in the second half for a lifting tackle which could face further scrutiny.
The Crusaders swept aside the Southern Kings 55-20 thanks to a blistering seven-try first-half display at the AMI Stadium. Flanker George Whitelock went over the whitewash three times, while prop Wyatt Crockett, scrum-half Willi Heinz, flanker Matt Todd and No.8 Luke Whitelock notched up tries also to help produce the Crusader's strongest performance of the season. Wimpie van der Walt and George Whitehead were the only scorers for the Kings, who were not strong enough to withstand the attacking power the New Zealand side.
The Cheetahs secured their third away victory on the bounce after beating the Western Force 19-10 at the nib Stadium on Saturday. A late try from winger Willie Le Roux combined with 14 points from the boot of fly half Riaan Smit put the game out of reach for the Force, who looked on course for a win after a 26th minute try from Winston Stanley put them in front. However a massive defensive effort from the Cheetahs close the game out and prevented the Force from getting their second win in-a-row.
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