Tahs comeback stuns Landers

Rugby Player scores try

The Waratahs produced a stunning comeback to defeat the Highlanders and book their place in the semi-finals of Super Rugby 2018.


Bernard Foley scored 25-points as the Waratahs earned a sensational 30-23 comeback win over the Highlanders in Saturday's third quarterfinal at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The Australians were helped in part by a Waisake Naholo yellow card, which allowed them to score three converted tries during his absence.

The result secures the Tahs a semifinal date with either the Lions or Jaguares depending on the result of Saturday's final qualifier.

Two Foley penalties and one from Lima Sopoaga opened the scoring before a midfield break from the latter was finished off in the corner by Naholo.

Both sides battled for momentum, with a number of breakdown infringements meaning possession changed hands several times in the opening exchanges.

Nevertheless, another Sopoaga penalty extended the lead, before another defensive lapse in the midfield allowed Rob Thompson to dot down unopposed under the sticks.

Another penalty from a big Landers shove meant the hosts went into the break trailing by 6-23.

Any go-forward achieved by Daryl Gibson's men was quickly undone by numerous unforced errors, as the New Zealanders began to gain the upper hand.

The tide would shift, however, following a Naholo high-shot on Sekope Kepu. The big winger was sent to the naughty corner, and the hosts took full advantage through three converted tries to Foley (two), and Israel Folau after some breathtaking offensive football from Kurtley Beale in the centre of the park.

With 20-odd to play, the Kiwis found themselves seven-points down (after another Foley three-pointer) but were handed a lifeline when Paddy Ryan was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement that prevented the 2015 champions from scoring another try.

The Waratahs, though, withstood a late surge to see out the win.

Scorers:

Waratahs

Tries: Foley (2), Folau,
Cons: Foley (3)
Pens: Foley (3)
Yellow card: Paddy Ryan

Highlanders

Tries: Naholo, Thompson
Cons: Sopoaga (2)
Pens: Sopoaga (3)
Yellow card: Naholo


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (c), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Cameron Clark, 23 Bryce Hegarty

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (cc), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes



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