A strong Waratahs side full of Wallabies scored two tries to beat the Highlanders 19-16 in their Super Rugby warm-up fixture in Newcastle on Friday.
Peter Betham was the first to score, thanks to a great backline move and assist from Adam Ashley-Cooper. Michael Hooper then scored the second for the Sydney side, but the Highlanders were able to pick up a try through Hayden Parker just before half-time to make it 13-12.
Former Bulls loose forward Jacques Potgieter came on in the second half, and shortly after Wallaby Bernard Foley scored under the posts to make it 19-13.
The Highlanders did slot a late penalty through Ben Smith, of all people, but there wasn’t enough time to overcome the three-point deficit.
Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Kurt Baker, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Shane Christie, 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Kane Hames.
Subs: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Craig Millar, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Tom Franklin, 21 TJ Ioane, 22 Lee Allan, 23 Frae Wilson, 24 Hayden Parker, 25 Phil Burleigh, 26 Winston Stanley, 27 Richard Buckman.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Jacques Potgieter, 19 Stephen Hoiles, 20 Pat McCutcheron, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Kurtley Beale, 24 Jono Lance, 25 Ben Volavola, 26 Cam Crawford.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images