The NSW Waratahs backs had a field day at Glen Willow on Saturday, scoring seven of the Tahs’ nine tries on rout to a 53-17 thumping of the Brumbies.
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Winger Reece Robinson bagged a brace – his final five-pointer leaping the hosts over the 50-point hurdle - in the twilight spectacle, one Mudgee fans turned up to in their droves despite searing heat during the lead-up.
The official crowd figure was 6357.
Capping a week-long stay in the central west with the entertaining Super Rugby trial, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was thrilled his young side was able to turn it on without the likes of Wallabies Israel Folau, Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley pulling all the strings.
“It’s early days, trial one, but it certainly let’s us know we’ve got a squad, and we’ve got a squad that can compete,” Gibson said.
“We’ve got that young, enthusiastic energy about us and I really like that.”
Played in three, 30 minute periods, NSW struck first after 20 minutes when stand-in skipper Jack Dempsey scored for the Tahs.
Dempsey laid on the second for the sky blues almost immediately after, live-wire half Jake Gordon the beneficiary, to shoot the Tahs to a 12-0 lead.
ACT hit back with a five-pointer to Tomas Cubelli to make the score 12-7, but the Argentinian halfback was then forced to leave the field with a knee injury and his absence rendered the Brumbies effectiveness with the ball almost useless.
The contrast between the two sides, and styles, couldn’t have been more stark.
NSW took every opportunity to let the ball sing, sending it from edge to edge at will, enabling the Waratahs backs to use their speed.
The margin held strong at 17-12 in the second period, but further tries to Bryce Hegarty, Andrew Kellaway, Matt Lucas, Irae Simone and rampaging hooker Tolu Latu sealed the commanding victory in front of the NSW home crowd.
A point Gibson wanted to reiterate on fulltime. This is as much Mudgee’s NSW Waratahs as it is Bondi’s.
SEE WHAT NED HANIGAN HAD TO SAY POST GAME:
“It shows what we’re about. We want to connect the whole of the state, from the bush to the city,” Gibson said, praising the effort his country players, namely Tom Robertson and Ned Hanigan, went to during the week.
“They really enjoyed coming here. Representing their region. It was really special,” he added.
“I think they put on an extra country accent while they were here … they got more country as the week went on, but they’re certainly very proud to play in front of their people.”
WARATAHS 53 (Reece Robinson 2, Jack Dempsey, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty, Andrew Kellaway, Matt Lucas, Irae Simone, Tolu Latu tries; Bryce Hegarty 2, Andrew Deegan, Matt Lucas conversions) def ACT BRUMBIES 17 (Tomas Cubelli, Josh Mann-Rea, Tom Banks tries; Wharanui Hawera conversion)
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