Kings 10 – 72 HSBC Waratahs
The HSBC Waratahs rounded off their two-week trip to South Africa by recording a spectacular bonus win over the Kings, running in 11 tries to earn their first win in South Africa in four years.
With a four-try bonus point secured after just 19 minutes, the visitors showed their ruthlessness by continuing to pile on the points, led by winger Cam Crawford who completed his hat trick after just 36 minutes to help his side to a 46-10 lead at the break.
“That was probably the performance we were looking for most of the year,” HSBC Waratahs’ captain Dave Dennis told SuperSport after the match.
Adding to their seven first half tries with another four after the break and restricting the opposition to a single intercept try, Dennis said, “We’ve played well in patches throughout the year but that was the most complete performance we’ve had so it’s a very satisfying result.
“We’ve had a really good trip out here and trained hard. We just focused on playing our game for the full 80 minutes, I think we did that tonight and I’m really pleased with the result.”
Coming on the back of last week’s disappointing loss to the Bulls, the win lifts NSW to eighth on the table. “I thought we were close last week, that game could have gone our way,” added Dennis. “We knew the Kings were going to be tough and we would have to play well. That first 20 minutes really set the tone for the match and it was tough for them to come back.”
Unbeaten against Australian opposition after recording wins over the Force and Rebels and a draw against the Brumbies, the Kings were powerless to prevent the NSW assault, with fullback Israel Folau earning the man of the match award for his role in setting up a number of the visitors’ tries and crossing himself.
Said Folau, “I thought our team performance was great. We were really disappointed after last week’s loss so it was good to get the win tonight.”
The HSBC Waratahs got off to a perfect start, scoring a try in the opening minute, with wing Cam Crawford capitalising in a break from Folau. Scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin missed the conversion but the visitors quickly added a second when Folau crossed next to the posts with just six minutes on the clock. McKbbin added the extras to give his side a welcome 12-0 lead in the early stages.
A penalty apiece and a second try to Crawford extended the score to 22-3 on 17 minutes, before the HSBC Waratahs rounded off the perfect quarter by securing the four-try bonus point with Kane Douglas crashing over for his first try of the season on his 50th Super Rugby appearance.
Try number five came after 26 minutes when a great step from Bernard Foley saw the flyhalf make a midfield break before an overhead inside pass allowed flanker Michael Hooper to over dive. The Kings’ misery continued when wing Peter Betham crossed for a sixth try within the half hour, with McKibbin adding the extra two points to take the visitors to a comfortable 41-3 lead.
A break from Hooper down the left-hand side allowed the flanker to put Crawford away for his third, the big winger crossing unopposed to complete his hat trick. An intercept try from Kings winger Sergeal Petersen saw the home side steal a try of their own, with flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis’s conversion on the whistle taking the half-time score to 46-10.
The scoring continued in the second period, with captain Dave Dennis scoring his side’s eighth six minutes in after crashing over in the left corner after some good work from Folau and a Betham offload.
Betham’s second of the match followed five minutes later when the winger was the recipient of a perfect inside pass from centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and McKibbin’s kick took the score to 58-10.
A flurry of replacements at the close of the third quarter saw Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Ben Volavola and Matt Lucas get in on the action in place of Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu, Rob Horne and Brendan McKibbin. The arrival of John Ulugia, Pat McCutcheon and Tom Kingston 10 minutes later emptied the NSW bench and delivered the team’s ninth try, scored by Volavola and converted by Lucas, his first points in Super Rugby.
Kingston’s effort from another Folau offload took the team’s tally to 70, with Lucas’ second successful conversion taking the final score to 72-10 in the visitors’ favour.
After picking up a valuable five points on the road, the HSBC Waratahs now head home as they prepare to take on the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, May 11, a match that Dennis expects to be a tough test. “They’re playing good football, they’ve beaten the Hurricanes and they pushed the Blues last night. We’ve got to front up and keep playing and use this momentum.”