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Blues break Waratahs hearts with drop goal after the siren

Sat, 28/05/2022, 1:24 pm
Waratahs Media
by Waratahs Media
Tane Edmed's penalty in the 78th minute looked to have forced extra time
Tane Edmed's penalty in the 78th minute looked to have forced extra time

The Blues have rundown the Waratahs 20-17 with a Zarn Sullivan drop goal after the siren stealing the match for the Auckland outfit.

On a perfect night in the Inner-West, the Waratahs attracted their largest crowd of the season with 14, 681 people turning up at Leichhardt Oval.

Despite wholesale changes, the Blues showed they weren’t going to be pushovers from the start, showing plenty of tenacity in defence, and held the Waratah scoreless in the opening half of the match for the first time this season.

The Waratahs were left ruing missed opportunities as the Blues found themselves down to 13 when Adrian Choat was given a yellow card for a high shot on Jake Gordon and Akira Ioane was sin-binned for repeated infringements.

Unlike last week against the Highlanders, the Waratahs were unable to get any points out of their numerical advantage and found themselves behind at the break courtesy of Jock McKenzie’s penalty goal.

Darren Coleman’s halftime team talk seemed to work as the Waratahs raced out to a 14-3 lead courtesy of a double from Mark Nawaqanitawase.

Tane Edmed set his winger’s first try up with a beautiful long cut-out pass, before Nawaqanitawase grabbed his second with an acrobatic finish in the corner for the 14-3 lead.

The Blues refused to go away and ended up taking a 17-14 lead after tries to Cameron Suafoa in the 67th minute and Luke Romano in the 75th minute.

Tane Edmed looked to have sent the game to extra time with a penalty goal in the 78th minute before Zarn Sullivan broke the Waratahs’ hearts with his drop goal after the siren.

Waratah’s captain Jake Gordon was disappointed to let a promising lead slip in front of the home fans.

"It's a disappointing finish for us at Leichhardt Oval," said Gordon.

"We thought we started that second half really well and put some pressure on the Blues but we weren't clinical in the last 20 minutes."

The Waratahs will now face the Chiefs in the quarter-final next weekend in Hamilton.

WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Dave Porecki, Archer Holz, Jed Holloway, Ned Hanigan, Charlie Gamble, Michael Hooper, Will Harris, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Lalakai Foketi, Alex Newsome, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson

RESERVES: Mahe Vailanu, Ruan Smith, Paddy Ryan, Hugh Sinclair, Jeremy Williams, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Jack Grant, Jamie Roberts

BLUES (1-15): Jordan Lay, Ricky Riccitelli, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Josh Goodhue, Anton Segner, Adrian Choat, Taine Plumtree, Sam Nock, Jock McKenzie, AJ Lam, Corey Evans, Tamati Tua, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Zarn Sullivan

RESERVES: Soane Vikena, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Marcel Renata, Sam Darry, Cameron Suafoa, Akira Ioane, Taufa Funaki, Nigel Ah-Wong