Waugh claims NSW robbed
NSW skipper Phil Waugh claimed his side was robbed after the Waratahs’ seven-year streak over Queensland ended in dramatic fashion at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The Reds somehow held firm to survive a torrid NSW scrummaging onslaught in front of the biggest Australian crowd of the season and put the Waratahs’ Super Rugby finals hopes on a knife-edge with a 19-15 win .
The home side notched a franchise record seventh straight win with a tense triumph where NSW camped on the Queensland line for the bulk of the second half without breaking through.
From the 50th minute to the 70th play hardly left the Reds’ 22 as the Waratahs’ powerful, experienced pack dictated terms in the scrum but all they reaped was three points from a penalty goal to trail 16-15 with eight minute left.
Often it appeared a pushover try or penalty try was only one scrum or collapse away but Queensland’s reserve front row scrambled gallantly, with replacement hooker James Hanson a hero.
Waugh, who was replaced at the 65-minute mark, finished the match livid with the refereeing of Ian Smith, who replaced a lame Steve Walsh (calf) at halftime.
The flanker argued Smith should have rewarded the Waratahs’ dominant scrum with a penalty try, and also claimed centre Tom Carter scored a legitimate try which was denied by television match official Steve Leszczynski.
“We were on our way to (a penalty try),” he said, referring to a string of two penalties and two other resets on the Reds’ line in 51st minute.
“We were clearly the dominant scrum and there was no question at all.
“You’ve got to reward dominance.”
Waugh said Carter was adamant he scored from a 70th-minute driving maul which would have put the Waratahs in the lead at 17-16 and with a kick to come.
“He thinks he scored it and everyone around him thought he scored it,” Waugh said.
Despite the controversy, Queensland were superior in all other facets of the game and coach Ewen McKenzie lauded his side’s brave second-half rearguard.
“A lot of games are determined by skill, some get determined by character and fortitude and tonight was one of the latter,” McKenzie said.
Skipper James Horwill, who had never beaten NSW before in six previous matches, said he couldn’t ask any more from his team which was jubilant at finally scratching the seven-year glitch.
While halfback Will Genia was a stand-out, Reds’ playmaker Quade Cooper scored all Queensland’s points, including a brilliant 34th-minute solo try, to grab the Templeton Cup for the first time since 2004.
Making the Waratahs’ finals quest even tougher is the fact they will have to do it without in-form winger Drew Mitchell who broke his leg and dislocated his right ankle in a sickening incident.
Blues 40 (Rene Ranger 2, Luke Braid, Jared Payne, Joe Rokocoko, Benson Stanley tries Stephen Brett, Luke McAlister cons Brett 2 pens) bt Melbourne Rebels 23 (Lachlan Mitchell, Cooper Vuna tries Danny Cipriani 2 cons 3 pens) at Eden Park. Referee: Keith Brown. Highlanders 26 (James Paterson 2, Siale Piutau tries Tony Brown con 3 pens) bt Crusaders 18 (Zac Guildford, Adam Whitelock tries Matthew Berquist con pen drop goal) at Trafalgar Park. Referee: Bryce Lawrence. Queensland Reds 19 (Quade Cooper try con 3 pens drop goal) bt NSW Waratahs 15 (Kurtley Beale 5 pens) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Jonathan White.Western Force 26 (Cameron Shepherd try James O’Connor 6, William Ripia pens) bt Bulls 21 (Bjorn Basson, Chilliboy Ralepelle tries Morne Steyn con 3 pens) at nib Stadium. Referee: Mark Lawrence. Sharks 40 (Lwazi Mvovo 2, Meyer Bosman, Ryan Kankowski, John Smit tries Patrick Lambie 3 cons 3 pens) bt Hurricanes 24 (Cory Jane, Faifili Levave tries Daniel Kirkpatrick con 4 pens) at ABSA Stadium. Referee: Stuart Dickinson. Chiefs 34 (Scott Waldrom 2, Romana Graham, Toby Smith, Dwayne Sweeney tries Stephen Donald 3 cons pen) bt Lions 30 (Cobus Grobbelaar, Michael Killian, Joshua Strauss tries Burton Kenvin Francis 2, Rory Kockott cons Francis 3 pens) at Ellis Park. Referee: Marius Jonker.Bye-Brumbies, Stormers, Cheetahs
Championship Points Australia Conference Queensland Reds 39 NSW Waratahs 28 Brumbies 21 Western Force 20 Melbourne Rebels 19 New Zealand Conference Blues 39 Crusaders 35 Highlanders 34 South African Conference Stormers 37 Sharks 34
We were clearly the dominant scrum and there was no question at all.’