Waratahs

Second-half spiral costs Waratahs in Dunedin

That’s how long it’s been since an Australian team won in New Zealand, as the Waratahs became the latest team felled across the Tasman, going down 44-28 to the Highlanders. 

A year to the day since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs, the last Australian victory over a Kiwi team anywhere in the world, they looked to have remedied their sluggish starts with a half-time lead, but were unravelled in the second half by recklessness as much as anything else.

Tahs keep playoff hopes alive

Waratahs fullback Israel Folau was back to his dominant best, scoring a try in each half, with Nick Phipps, Dean Mumm, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Damien Fitzpatrick and Bryce Hegarty also crossing for the home side.

Replacement back Jonah Placid scored a brace of tries in the second half for the Rebels, who battled hard but were over-run in the final quarter and slumped to a ninth loss of the season.

Cheika backs Waratahs-Cronk move

Cronk will leave Melbourne at the end of the season in order to move to Sydney for family reasons, with a number of NRL sides believed to be keen to sign the 33-year-old.

However, a surprising turn of events has seen Super Rugby side Waratahs credited with an interest in the two-time Dally M Player of the Year.

Former Waratahs player and coach Cheika believes Cronk has the ability to make the switch, but will not try to facilitate a move in order to have him available for the Wallabies.

Waratahs humiliated by Kings

Plumbing new depths, the Waratahs lamely surrendered a 17-0 lead with a listless display in front of exasperated fans on Friday night.

The Kings are the competition's dead men walking, consigned to the scrapheap in 2018 as part of SANZAAR's Super Rugby restructuring after managing just three wins in the past season and a half.

But the lowly South Africans may well have sounded the death knell on the Waratahs' finals hopes after reversing a record 72-10 loss to NSW in the two sides' only previous meeting, in Port Elizabeth four years ago.

Waratahs to put Crusaders to the sword

The Waratah host the unbeaten competition leaders in Sydney on Sunday with their finals hopes in the balance after a ho-hum two-from-five start.

But skipper Michael Hooper hopes last week's thrilling comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels, after trailing 25-6 at halftime, will prove the spark that revived the Tahs' 2017 fortunes.

"The comeback gave it that extra little bit for the viewers," the champion flanker said at Saturday's captain's run at Allianz Stadium.

"That's how we want to play. Look at our stats, it's sharing the workload. That's Waratahs footy.

Crusaders back their discipline

Memories of the way the Waratahs used bruisers like Will Skelton and Tolu Latu to poke, niggle and provoke - illegally and otherwise - the Crusaders when they last visited Sydney haven't been forgotten.

Neither they should be. Watching the Waratahs forwards steam into the Crusaders in 2015, and you have to admit the city boys really did give the men from New Zealand the big V, made for painful viewing.

Highlanders snatch final pre-season game against Tahs with late penalty goal

The 35m strike after the final hooter ensured the Dunedin-based franchise finished their pre-season with a win, having previously lost to the Crusaders and been bundled out in the Brisbane Tens quarterfinals. 

Smith's late strike also ensured the Highlanders didn't throw away a game they had led 40-18 early in the second half, only for the Waratahs to come steaming back to lead 47-40 inside the final 10 minutes.

But midfielder Rob Thompson crashed over under the sticks with a few minutes left on the clock, before Smith snatched the game with his right-boot. 

Blues finish season on winning note

RNZI reports the Blues are the only New Zealand side not to have qualified for next week's playoffs but they have finished the season on a high with wins over the top two Australian sides, the Waratahs and the ACT Brumbies.

In a see-sawing battle at Eden Park the Blues outscored the Waratahs five tries to four.

Hurricanes call up Eves and Halaholo

Eves comes into the starting team for Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, who broke his arm during last week's win over the Blues, while Halaholo earns a promotion from the reserves after Vince Aso was ruled out with a calf strain.

Prop Ben May and midfielder Ngani Laumape, who has recovered from a groin strain, come into the reserves, while openside Callum Gibbins returns to the squad after skipping the Blues match due to concussion.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said it was a great opportunity for the players who had been called up to the starting side.

Waratahs hunt bonus points in last two Super Rugby games: Tatafu Polota-Nau

And Polota-Nau has revealed the premature retirement of Benn Robinson makes him prepare even more thoroughly now he has adopted the mindset that every game could be his last.