Jake Gordon bagged a hat-trick as the Waratahs claimed a comprehensive 45-12 bonus-point victory over the Reds in Sydney on Saturday.
As with most traditional rivalries in sport, form doesn’t automatically dictate the outcome of a fixture’s result between rivals. And that was again the case in the showdown between the New South Wales Waratahs and Queensland Reds.
Coming into this encounter, the in-form Reds were clear-cut favourites to triumph over the battling Waratahs. But the match prediction and how the match actually transpired were vastly different. The hosts made a blistering start and, more importantly, maintained the same pace throughout the 80 minutes to floor the shell-shocked Reds.
The Waratahs bossed the set pieces, but Gordon was the most influential player on the field, scoring a first-half hat-trick that left the Reds reeling as they had to chase the game.
The lively scrumhalf’s try three-peat, coupled with one try each from Jack Maddocks and Alex Newsome and six successful kicks at goal from Will Harrison, put the Waratahs 38-0 up at the break – a fitting cricket-like score considering the game was played at the world-famous Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The second half was a much more subdued affair, with the Waratahs spurning a few of scoring opportunities and the Reds taking a couple of their own.
Hooker Tom Horton extended the Waratahs’ advantage to 45 points soon after the restart, but their intensity and energy levels dropped towards the back end of the game, allowing the Reds to enjoy more possession in the last quarter, resulting in two consolation tries to at least get them into double digits on the scoreboard.
The result moves the Waratahs above the Reds on the Super Rugby AU table thanks to a greater points differential.
Waratahs – Tries: Jake Gordon (3), Jack Maddocks, Alex Newsome, Tom Horton. Conversions: Will Harrison (5), Ben Donaldson. Penalty: Harrison.
Reds – Tries: Jack Hardy, James O’Connor. Conversion: O’Connor.
Waratahs – 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 James Ramm, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons (c), 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Tom Robertson.
Subs: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Tom Staniforth/Jed Holloway, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Joey Walton, 23 Ben Dondaldson.
Reds – 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (c), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander.
Subs: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Jack Straker, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Josh Flook.
Photo: Getty Images