Waratahs grind past Cheetahs

The Waratahs' recent revival continued when they secured a hard-fought 21-6 victory over the Cheetahs in Sydney on Saturday.

The 2014 champions outscored the men from Bloemfontein two tries to zero although they were denied a try-scoring bonus-point, after Israel Folau had crossed the whitewash in the final act of the match. This after referee Nic Berry consulted the Television Match Official, George Ayoub, who ruled correctly that there was a forward pass from Michael Hooper in the build-up.

That decision denied the Waratahs the chance to move clear at the top of the Australian Conference. As it stands, they are now in joint top spot with the Brumbies on 25 points although they have played one game less than the Canberra outfit.

The Cheetahs were viewed as a bogey team for the Waratahs, after winning their two previous matches in Sydney, but they never troubled their hosts and this result means they finish their Australian tour winless as they also suffered losses to the Rebels and Reds.

They remain in third place on the Africa Conference One table but are trailing the second-placed Bulls by a massive 16 points and have played a match more than the men from Pretoria.

This encounter's opening exchanges were fairly even, with the Cheetahs taking the lead via a Fred Zeilinga penalty in the third minute but Bernard Foley made it 3-3 when he landed a three-pointer from the kicking tee two minutes later.

Foley slotted another penalty 10 minutes later before the Waratahs took control of proceedings thanks to a Reece Robinson try in the 27th minute.

This after gathering a long pass from Foley inside the Cheetahs' 22 and he did well to dot down in the right-hand corner despite a brave cover tackle from Clayton Blommetjies.

Zeilinga added his second penalty five minutes later but that would be the final time the visitors would score any points.

Foley then left his stamp on the match in the 34th minute when, after selling the defence a superb dummy inside their 22, he crossed for his first try of the season.

That meant the home side held a comfortable 18-6 lead at half-time.

To their credit, the Cheetahs were more competitive after the interval but despite improving in their defensive duties they conceded too many unforced errors and had little to offer in attack.

A 43rd minute Foey penalty was the only other points scored although the Waratahs will be ruing the fact that they failed to secure that bonus-point which could prove vital later on in the tournament. 

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Robinson, Foley
Con: Foley 
Pens: Foley 3

For Cheetahs:
Zeilinga 2

Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Taavao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (c), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Willie Britz, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees, Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub