Waratahs slump to third straight defeat as Chiefs remain unbeaten

“We didn’t get too many chances with the ball in the first half. In the second, we did and we just didn’t take them.

“You hurt over it and you try and find the solutions to make it better.”

With the scores square at the break, the Waratahs struggled to get into the game. Bereft of proper possession and territory for most of the match, NSW had moments but no player stood up and took control of the match.

Credit must go to the Waratahs for being in the fight in the dying stages.

With Eddie Jones in the stands again, this was a match that will hardly fill him with confidence when it comes to NSW players for a Wallabies camp next month.

“It was a real tough match,” Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon said on the Stan Sport broadcast. “I was disappointed we couldn’t transfer [defence] into attack. The breakdown was a bit of a mess. I was really proud of our effort in defence.”

The Waratahs have now won just one of their first five matches this season.Credit:Getty Images

Emoni Narawa sliced through to give the Chiefs a 17-7 lead before Michael Hooper finally brought the home crowd to life with a driving-maul try in the 61st minute from the back of a short lineout.

NSW could have drawn ahead, save for a knock-on from Tom Lambert moments after a Mark Nawaqanitawase break down the right edge.

It was not to be as Narawa swooped on a grubber with five minutes remaining to score in the south-west corner of Allianz Stadium.

The sight of defending winger Nemani Nadolo slipping over summed up a frustrating season for the Waratahs that just can’t get going.

Emoni Narawa scores a try.

Emoni Narawa scores a try.Credit:Getty Images

“It was a pretty slippery ball,” Chiefs halfback Brad Weber said. “I can’t imagine it was very nice to watch as a spectator but hey, sometimes you’ve got to win ugly. Four points, we’ll take that.”

The loss takes the Waratahs’ record against New Zealand sides to two wins from their past 18 matches.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs celebrated their seventh straight win over the Waratahs since 2017 and kept their unbeaten season alive.

Earlier, Joey Walton’s return to Super Rugby for the first time in more than two years began with a knock-on as the Waratahs let Bryn Gatland through for a try in the fourth minute.

Despite the Chiefs chalking up almost 80 per cent of possession in the opening 20 minutes, it was Gordon who helped level scores with a trademark intercept.

Once Gordon picks his moment, he’s a man on a mission and difficult for attacking teams to spot.

An arm-wrestle ensued throughout the first half, with both sides barely missing a tackle.

Chiefs halfback Weber thought he’d nabbed a sneaky try moments before half-time to edge ahead but replays showed Hooper had grounded the ball on the line. Whether Hooper meant to or not is another question.

The Chiefs had chances to take a lead into the break but poor handling and a brilliant turnover from Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes, which was warmly appreciated by fatigued teammates, meant the scores were locked at 7-7.


With no Max Jorgensen at fullback, Ben Dowling was impressive in his first start in Super Rugby, particularly under the high ball.

Nawaqanitawase was evasive and Izaia Perese was much better than recent weeks but it won’t satisfy a playing group with so much more to give.

A trip down the Hume Highway awaits the Waratahs next week and they’ll need every bit of polish to knock off the Brumbies in the nation’s capital.

Waratahs thump Force in Super W opener

Teenage fullback Caitlyn Halse turned in an eye-catching NSW debut as the Waratahs opened their Super W season with a comprehensive 43-0 win over the Western Force.

Just a few weeks after 18-year-old Max Jorgensen shone in his first Super Rugby Pacific game at the same venue, 16-year-old Halse exhibited maturity beyond her years in the win.

Halse is the youngest player to run out for the Waratahs women’s team, but wasn’t the only 16-year-old in the team, with back-rower Bronte Wilson also making an impact off the bench.

The Waratahs secured a bonus point by half-time, having built up a 24-0 lead after a dominant opening period.

In her first game as captain, Piper Duck grassed the first pass of the game but made up for it by crossing for the first try when she bounced out of a rolling maul in the ninth minute.

Grace Hamilton tries to break through against the Force.

Grace Hamilton tries to break through against the Force.Credit:Getty Images

“The girls have been working hard all pre-season,” Duck said. “To finally put it on the paddock … as a whole, we’re really happy with our strong performance.”

The Force put up a good fight early but the hosts began to roll forward with power and precision in the middle, and gaps appeared.

A Georgia Friedrichs linebreak led to Maya Stewart scoring the next try in the 12th minute, in a nice reward for the NSW winger who missed her chance at World Cup selection last year due to an ACL injury.


Powerhouse hooker Adiana Talakai was one of NSW’s strongest early. She was rewarded with a try in the 27th minute, albeit a simple one riding shotgun at the end of a Tahs rolling maul.

The Force had a chance to claw a try back in the 32nd minute, when breakaway Katie Barnes strolled through a yawning gap and crossed the line. However, Barnes fumbled as she went to put the ball down when it hit the foot of NSW defender Ella Ryan.

Margot Vella touched down for a fifth try after half-time when the impressive Halse unselfishly gave up a try on debut to put in her winger.

NSW piled on the pressure in the second half to keep the visitors scoreless.

The Waratahs face the Brumbies next week in Canberra.

Watch all the action from the Super Rugby Pacific with every match streaming ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport.

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