Reds give Waratahs big scare

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper (second from left) getting tackled by Reds' Jake Schatz (second from right).
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper (second from left) getting tackled by Reds' Jake Schatz (second from right).PHOTO: AFP

BRISBANE • The New South Wales Waratahs edged out arch-rivals Queensland Reds 15-13 in a dour Super Rugby clash in Brisbane yesterday.

The Waratahs scored two tries to one but trailed the Queensland side until 12 minutes to go, when Wallabies fly-half Bernard Foley kicked a penalty to put his side in front.

The win means the 2014 champions stay in touch with runaway Australian conference leaders ACT Brumbies. But they had to use all their experience to see off a brave Queensland side who are yet to record a win this season.

The Reds have improved each week since they sacked coach Richard Graham and, on the back of a superior scrum and line-out, they almost pulled off an upset.

"It was a really tough grind," Waratahs captain Michael Hooper conceded.

"We did some really good things but we were falling back on some poor things we've done previously.

"We're rolling on but hopefully we can get a snowball effect and go from there."

Hooper said the Waratahs had adapted to the conditions better than their opponents.

"We changed our game plan which worked really well for us - kicking to the corners and playing for position."

The Reds were the better team for most of the first half. But, while they were ferocious at the contest and clear with their intent, they again lacked direction in attack and wasted the chances they were able to carve out, often in the most bewildering fashion.

Five-eighth Foley, making his return from injury, slotted a three-pointer with 12 minutes remaining, and then the Waratahs professionally closed out the game, snuffing out Queensland's attempts to manufacture a winner.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Reds give Waratahs big scare'. Print Edition | Subscribe