NSW Waratahs made a successful start to the Daryl Gibson era and inflicted more misery on arch rivals Queensland with a 30-10 win in their opening-round Super rugby match in Sydney. The Tahs scored four tries to one on Saturday night, racking up their fifth straight win over the Reds, in front of 24,044 spectators at Allianz Stadium.
The bonus-point performance emulated the Brumbies’ effort against the Hurricanes and set up an early season blockbuster between the two leading Australian franchises on Friday in Canberra. The Tahs showed plenty of sparkle before the break with the new playmaking duo of five-eighth Kurtley Beale and inside centre David Horwitz prominent.
They lost some gloss after half-time as Queensland’s pack fought hard to earn their side a foothold in the game. First-half tries to captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper, winger Matt Carraro and debutant Horwitz set up a 20-0 halftime buffer for the home team. Hooper crashed over from close range, Carraro pounced on a loose ball and the impressive Horwitz touched down after toeing the ball ahead.
The Reds showed more fight against a less impressive Waratahs outfit after the break, scoring 10 unanswered points in the third quarter. Five-eighth Jake McIntyre dummied his way over for the visitors’ only try just before the hour. Needing to get three tries ahead of the Reds to earn a bonus point, the Tahs crossed for their fourth five-pointer in the 62nd minute, when impressive halfback Nick Phipps won the chase to a Beale kick.
The Reds contributed to their downfall with some poor discipline, conceding four penalties in the first eight minutes and had a man sin-binned in each half. Referee Angus Gardner warned Queensland captain and lock Rob Simmons in the eighth minute, after his team had conceded those first four penalties, that the Reds risked having someone sent to the bin if they didn’t clean up their act.
Simmons didn’t heed the warning as he was sin-binned five minutes later. No-nonsense Australian official Gardner also delivered a stern lecture to both front rows just before halftime.
In the second half, he sin-binned two reserve props, the Reds’ Sam Talaki and the Waratahs’ Jeremy Tilse. An injury to centre and Reds debutant Henry Taefu meant Japanese World Cup star back Ayumu Goromaru was on after just 27 minutes, a bonus for the large Japanese media contingent attending the game. He scored the Reds’ first points from a 37-metre penalty in the 45th minute, missed with another attempt from slightly further out a few minutes later, but converted McIntyre’s try.