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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Waratahs win Super Rugby title after nail-biting thriller with the Crusaders

Adam Ashley Cooper scored twice but it was Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley that struck a long distance, last minute penalty to claim a well deserved 33-32 Super Rugby Final victory over the Crusaders in Sydney. It is the Waratahs' first ever Super Rugby title.

The match was played at a fantastic tempo throughout, with neither side giving in to the typical 'finals rugby' style of play that we've seen all too often in the past. This was one of the games of the year, final or not, typified by the 20-20 deadlock just minutes into the second half.

In the end it came down to a big call by referee Craig Joubert at the death, as he penalised Richie McCaw at the ruck. Foley stepped up and slotted the 45 metre penalty, only just, and the rest is history, with the Waratahs winning their first ever title, in front of a record crowd of 61 823.

The Waratahs had lead early on, shooting out to a 14-0 lead but the Crusaders aren't the most successful side in Super Rugby history for nothing, and they came back to within inches of winning it, had it not been for Foley's trusty right boot. 

"I was hitting them well all night and it was probably right on my distance," the tournament's top points scorer said. "I had to give it my all and the rugby gods were on our side."

Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper admitted that he thought Foley didn't quite have the distance.

"I thought it went under, but it went over and I was ecstatic," Hooper said.

The Waratahs join the Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Brumbies, Reds and Bulls as only the seventh franchise to win a Super Rugby crown.

Fans, pundits and players took to twitter post match to express their joy at what they had just witnessed. This will go down as an all time classic, and rightly so. Kudos to both teams for the attitude, skill level and dogged determination they displayed throughout.

Posted at 7:12 am | 32 comments

Viewing 32 comments

45678 August 03, 2014 10:11 am

Good game, thought the nadolo "try" made it closer than it should have been. Tah's by far the better side on the day

You can't hear it on the audio here, but why do Aussie / kiwi rugby players make "woo" noises like 5 year old girls when they score tries?

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WelshOsprey August 03, 2014 1:02 pm

The penalty against mccaw was really questionable. Joubert says he wasn't the 1st tackler but he clearly was.

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cheyanqui August 03, 2014 9:38 pm

Clearly, Joubert didn't get the memo ghost-written by the NZRFU..

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stroudos August 03, 2014 10:32 pm

Nice one DrG. I read that part of the write-up with incredulity too. Ironically enough, as far as I can see here, there's no penalty offence at all!

Yet another refreshing moment for those of us who enjoy rugby's old-school values around discipline and respect for the officials. I mean, Richie McCaw, best player in the world, questionably penalised in the last minute of a grand final match, knows that his (or the ref's) mistake has almost definitely just cost his side the entire match and championship... Walks away without a single comment to the ref. I shudder to think what would have happened in an equivalent football/soccer scenario.

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DrG August 04, 2014 12:19 am

Players would have fainted with shock and would have to have been stretchered off.....

Agree totally with what you've written, just to add to that:

I'm sure the blokes in top condition, but he's 33 years old, he's getting on, who knows whether this could have been his 'last chance' to add another club trophy to his cabinet.

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murray August 03, 2014 4:34 pm

Not looking good for NZ rugby.England beat Crusaders.NZ lost the Sevens.Crusaders beaten by NSW .Crusaders full of All Blacks .Not looking good for the Bled Cup.

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DrG August 03, 2014 7:08 pm

Wouldn't be so hasty yet. Still things like the quad nations, autumn internationals and indeed the RWC for NZ to lose before they can truly be said to be on a downward spiral...

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Canadian content August 03, 2014 7:31 pm

That's laughable! "England A" beat Crusaders "b". All Blacks sweep plucky England 3-0. Tahs full of wallabies as well. Wallabies still weak at 1-3, 6, unproven midfield... Improving but I wouldn't panic if I was nz

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macmurchu August 03, 2014 7:36 pm

ABs still a long way ahead of the ret of the world except the springboks and even then, ABs would need to have an off day.

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LeinSTAR August 03, 2014 5:46 pm

Christ I swear McCaw was born in an offside position.

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stroudos August 03, 2014 10:35 pm

Maybe so, but I fail to see how he's offside here.

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MisterDavid August 04, 2014 11:33 am

It's definitely poor from Joubert. He clearly says, "You're not the tackler" to McCaw, which is nonsense.

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I_bleed_green_and_gold August 03, 2014 8:24 pm

Both the all blacks and wallabies look really good this year. But particularly the style of play and tempo of the game. What is evident from the sharks last week was that the big boys that make up the boks need the set pieces to function and a structured game plan. If we are made to run all day we can't can't cut it. It will be a interesting championship. As I have mentioned before, loosing cooper and Genia may be a blessing in disguise for the aussies. This 1/2 back combo is quick decisive and more traditional. They are also in great form.

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DrG August 03, 2014 9:21 pm

Don't want to start any arguments, but I just feel that the Wallabies are lacking in strength up front. I think they have brilliant ability all round and their back row can be monstrous in both skill and/or size, but I still get the impression; perhaps incorrectly, that they get pushed about a bit up front.

A bit too black and white, but you can almost look at it like, the backs score 2 tries for every 1 the pack gives away - This is not a fact nor any statistic; that I know of, but I find it highlights how the Aussies can still win a game that their forwards don't appear to do too well in.

Wish them all the best, wouldn't mind seeing Cooper back in again though.

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I_bleed_green_and_gold August 04, 2014 5:47 pm

The wallabies are a bit weaker in the forwards and that did not really get to show in this game. There were less than 10 scrums the whole game. If the wallabies keep the ball alive and avoid set pieces they are very dangerous. That is what the crusaders did against the sharks in the semis. To be frank, the sharks had many errors and did terribly in their set pieces which is one of the predominant strengths of South African teams. You can't play rugby without the ball. If the forwards are just effective enough to keep ball in hand then the aussies should have very few issues.

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DrG August 04, 2014 8:36 pm

I think that is probably a fairer assessment than my attempt above. I think you're right, the Aussie forwards often get a bit overwhelmed by the set pieces, but as you said, if they can work that to their advantage and keep the ball alive then their backs can cut other countries to ribbons!

I think in some of their tournaments to the NH; this year and late last year, it was shown quite well, their forwards at set pieces seemed to be the underdogs (although I wouldn't say they were totally mismatched) but as a team with the ball free flowing they were immense.

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Jon August 05, 2014 1:58 am

The lineouts for Australia have never really been a problem, the mauls have been really good (go watch us steam role Ireland for the fourth try last year against em).
The scrum has been poor at times, but not last season once Mackenzie came in. We don't have an amazing scrum, but it's ok. We beat Ireland, Scotland and Italy in the scrums in November and against England and Wales it was about a draw. We never got steamrolled. We also out scrummed France in the three test series this June.

In this game, the Tahs conceded two penalties against the Saders in a five minute period (Kepu got pinged a couple times, but to be fair he had been out there bashing away for 60 odd minutes and was tired, when got pulled off we were fine in the scrum), and we won a penalty against the Saders so not too bad.

In all honesty the biggest problem Australian rugby has is simply the perception that we have a weak scrum. We get nailed by refs. The default position is that we are in the wrong. Teams know that, and play to it. Teams will simply collapse the scrum the first couple times almost every game against us, just to see what the ref does. A lot of the time the ref will just penalize us for the sake of it.

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DrG August 05, 2014 10:07 am

I know it's not the done thing to play the 'our team was understrength' but were any of the teams you mentioned understrength?

I know France has been playing some pretty awful rugby recently, Italy and Scotland are difficult teams to take into serious account (sometimes they play relatively VERY well) but then again, Scotland has often tend to have a strong pack.

Did England have Corbisiero?

I have to explain that I'm not trying to clutch at excuses here, I literally don't know/can't remember. If those teams weren't understrength then I agree, Australia's problem is that perception of a weak scrum.

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Jon August 05, 2014 12:47 pm

No, they all had their top teams. France actually dropped Mas and Domingo in the second test after they got beaten so badly in the scrum.
Italy had Castrogiovanni, Ireland had Ross and Healy, England didn't have Corbiserro, but they had Cole and Vunipola.
The scrum was good overall against all of them. Smashed Ireland.

It's not the best scrum ever, but it's a million times better than it gets credit for. It's the refs that worry me, not our scrum. The easiest thing to do against Australia to win a penalty is to just intentionally collapse the scrum against us. Refs fall for half the time.

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Henri August 03, 2014 9:18 pm

Nadolo's try shouldn't have been allowed. Watch closely as he rolls over after the tackle by Beale, his right foot touches the the line, before he grounds the ball. Briefly but definitely.

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CEO Front Row Union August 03, 2014 11:33 pm

And this is why we love the Great Game of Rugby
(Apart from the fact that apart from Sumo wrestling, the front row is all I'm good for ...)

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10stonenumber10 August 04, 2014 11:48 am

Rugby is like a night at the pub.

It's never a good story if 15 of you go out, have 2 pints, and home before 11 without incident.

McCaw had one too many, got turfed by the bouncers, and snuck back in later.
Nadolo mineswept a bottle off another table, but is too big for anybody to say anything, and the Waratahs left the pub with the girl the Crusaders were talking to all night.

Great game all round.

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UpTheLowEnd August 04, 2014 2:33 pm

...I got totally lost in your metaphor there.

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10stonenumber10 August 05, 2014 12:26 am

If I have to explain it, it loses the magic...

Picture the final as a bar brawl between the two teams. Richie was binned when he was arguably not as offside as usual, and carried on his offsidery on his return. Nadolo's foot was arguably in touch, but he has scored so many he got the benefit of the doubt, 'minesweeping a drink from the bar and getting away with pretending you paid for it'. Crusaders thought they had the trophy in the bag, but the Waratahs took it at the last minute... self explanatory really!

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Eddie-g August 04, 2014 12:41 pm

You know the rugby gods are similing on you when you win a game with a penalty after of all people, Richie freakin McCaw is incorrectly pinged! Fair play to the Tahs, however, they were the best side in competition, and in no small measure because they gambled on Kurtley Beale and got him right on and off the field.

One small query on the write-up, the list of franchises that have won super rugby titles does not include the Lions. Yes it was '93 and back in the shamateur era, but you know, when I worshipped the Lions, they did win this thing.

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kokodoco August 04, 2014 3:32 pm

1st sorry for my english hah
2nd to be a "tackler" you must be in the ground or touching the ground with one knee! McCaw didnt was a tackler in this situation , and entry by the side!

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Canadian content August 05, 2014 3:00 am

I can't believe Beale isn't getting more kudos for his performance. He was outstanding with the ball in hand, his pass to spring foley, leading up to the first try was sublime. He followed that pass up with a perfectly weighted flat pass to put AAC into a hole for the try. He then assists on AACs second try and has a number of outstanding touches. Leave him at 12. Let him come in and out of the game as he chooses, rather than having all of the pressure at 10, but keep him close enough to the ball so he can get it when he wants it, cause he's an amazing footballer.

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ron August 06, 2014 11:57 am

Think the refs point is that mc caw wasn't first tackler cos no-one was i.e. the player slipped/tripped. Still I thought rules were if player just lying on the pitch u can approach from any angle e.g. there was no ruck/maul, therefore no need to 'go thru the gate'. Strange or indeed simply wrong decision. does anyone know if ref explained it afterwards? Or said sorry or something?

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Jon August 06, 2014 1:22 pm

The thing is, if he was the tackler, then when did he release?
He's either the arriving player coming in from the side, or he's the tackler and he dove straight in for the ball.
Either way, it's a penalty.

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ron August 07, 2014 8:21 am

but if a player is not tackled, if he is just lying there, there is no ruck/maul, no offside, its simply 'open play' and I can (as far as I know) approach this player/the ball from any angle...
btw I'm not some Kiwi or anything, just thought it was a weird decision, maybe its karma for all /richie's many, many, many past sins!

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Thomas H August 10, 2014 8:10 am

Would anyone happen to know where I could find a replay online?!

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