The Waratahs have got themselves back onto the winners sheet this evening by defeating the Melbourne Rebels at Allianz Stadium by 24 points; a final score of 32-8. The Rebels have slumped to their third consecutive loss, and things are beginning to look dire for the navy blue.
A skillful try to Alofa Alofa set the Waratahs up in the third minute of the game for an early lead after he danced around Tom English and made Angus Roberts look silly.
The first half remained quiet and uneventful thereafter, aside from when the 'Tahs lead was undone when Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham bust his way through two defenders to haul himself over the line in the 27th minute.
The teams went into the halftime break at a rather even 11-8 scoreline in favour of the 'Tahs.
The second half opened up for New South Wales. In the 42nd minute Kurtley Beale played an outside pass following a lineout to set up the gap for Peter Betham to run into and try. Two more tries sealed the win for the sky blues, and both were scored by Israel Folau. On both occasions it was, again, Beale who set up the tries and played Folau into the spaces to wrap up the game.
Despite the Waratahs scoring four tries for the match, it was a scrappy affair with both sides combining for 23 handling errors and 35 turnovers for the match. It affected Melbourne more so, with the majority of their forays to the try-line ending prematurely to a poor pass or dropped ball.
The poor Allianz Stadium turf also caused havoc, especially at the scrum with both teams falling victim to overturned turf, making it difficult for footing throughout the night.
The Rebels struggled to gain ground in the game, carrying the ball three more times than the Waratahs but traveling 166 less metres than their opponents. This is sure to rehash the midweek criticism of Tony McGahan's tactics and ineffective use of possession, electing to muscle their way to the in-goal as opposed to running and taking the game on.
The Rebels still lack the complete energy and enthusiasm they had about them in round 3 against the Cheetahs, and even at this stage of the season, players are looking tired, underdone and inconsistent.
Coach Tony McGahan will need to change something in the lead up to next weeks big clash with the Brumbies because the progression of the squad has stagnated dramatically, and if anything they are heading backwards.
Overall, a great second half for the Waratahs and another few tries for Izzy takes his tally up to 8 for the season. Can they keep it up when they travel to South Africa next week to play the Sharks? What do the Rebels need to do between now and their huge clash with the Brumbies next weekend to improve on their past performances?
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