Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis made two ferocious tackles as his side bounced back from opening round defeat to beat the Rebels 38-28 in Melbourne on Friday night. Hits below, plus you can also see the blooper that resulted in a League convert being yellow carded.
In an exciting match that ended with Kurtley Beale scoring the winning try for the Waratahs, Dennis made his first huge hit early on, smashing Jack Debreczeni and getting a turnover for his side.
Dennis missed last season’s Super Rugby title winning finale due to an injury layoff that included a third knee reconstruction. This season he is playing in the second row, and despite being just 192cm and 113kgs, he feels that he can excel and make a difference in the position.
“I’ve always felt that lock is a position people think you’ve got to be 120kg and two metres tall; if you’ve got a good technique and you’ve got good guys around you, you can get away with playing a little bit lighter,” he said in preseason.
Capped 18 times by the Wallabies as a loose forward, his mobility has aided the Waratahs cause, and against the Rebels he found himself in position to stop two backs dead in their tracks.
First it was Debreczeni and then the second tackle, on former Reds sharp shooter Mike Harris, was tough to watch. Harris stayed down, causing the officials to take a look at the tackles legitimacy, but play was waved on Harris was forced to leave the field after the knock.
As that happened, young winger Taqele Naiyaravoro, a Fijian flyer who scored two tries on the night and used to play rugby league for the Wests Tigers, was yellow carded for making a rookie mistake.
He tapped the ball out dead in-goal deliberately, which is allowed in League, but not in Union. Another convert, Israel Folau, did the same thing when he first started out. Naiyaravoro was sin-binned, then watched on in horror as the Rebels scored what could have been the match winning try.
“Just putting it down, it wasn’t in my head, I thought it’s be easy just to knock it out. To be honest I didn’t know, which was my fault, and I learnt a big lesson so it’s not going to happen again,” said Naiyaravoro, who remains eligible for both Fiji and Australia.
Both hits from skipper Dennis can be seen in the video below. Brutal.