Waratahs retain Weary Dunlop Shield

· Super Rugby
by Rebels Media
The NSW Waratahs have retained the Weary Dunlop Shield, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 20-15 at AAMI Park.

Despite being locked at two tries apiece, the flawless boot of Bernard Foley proved the difference as the Rebels season is now left hanging in the balance with two round to play.

In greasy conditions, similar to their round one encounter, Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed for the opening try in just the 6th minute when the Waratahs chanced their arm by spinning the ball wide from a scrum win inside their own half.

The expansive intent was quickly shelved in favour of a territorial arm wrestle which saw Cooper and Foley exchange penalties.

Not even a dislocated finger to Hodge in 14th minute would halt play; the centre rushed back onto the field signalling the gladiatorial nature of the match up.

Making the most of the slippery surface, Foley had Cooper bailed over the try line with a deft grubber that gifted the visitors an excellent attacking opportunity. Moments later, a looping pass by Foley to wing Curtis Rona looked to have the Waratahs in the corner for a certain try but were denied by a desperate tandem effort from Maddocks and To’omua.

Soon afterwards Marika Koroibete was being denied a try in the corner when a breakout fifty-metre dash was halted by Rona with a questionable tackle that resulted in a penalty.

With territory established, the Rebels battered the Waratahs tryline until Cooper eventually sneaked through. The celebrations were short lived however, when the TMO observed a knock on in the lead up.

The reprieve for the Waratahs would be significant as the men from Sydney escaped to halftime with their ten-point lead intact.

A second half kicking dual was interrupted by Jack Maddocks who threw a wide pass that found Koroibete in space. The Fijian wing drew two defenders in before offloading to Dane Haylett-Petty who found Cooper in support for a crowd pleasing try.

Denied one try already, Curtis Rona was not to be denied again when a wishful offload from Ashley-Cooper was jumped on by Rona for a five-pointer.

The score sprung the Rebels into action; newly introduced Billy Meakes placing Koroibete into the backfield with a set piece play that had the Waratahs retreating. A phase later Koroibete was involved again, punching holes through the Rebels fringe of the ruck defence and linking with Genia for the try.

With time disappearing, the Rebels were enjoying the weight of territorial advantage but struggled to deliver the knockout blow as handling errors proved their undoing time and time again. The Waratahs defended for grim life to ensure they would retain the Weary Dunlop Trophy.


REBELS 15

Tries: Cooper, Genia
Conversions: Cooper
Penalties: Cooper


WARATAHS 20

Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Rona
Conversions: Foley (2)
Penalties: Foley (2)

Halftime – 13-3 (Waratahs)
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