Michael Cheika sighed a huge sigh of relief as his team held on to beat the Chiefs in Sydney.
A see-saw match had the Waratahs lead 15 – 0 at half time, only for the Chiefs to make a massive comeback to lead with five minutes to play. The Waratahs held their nerve to score a late try to secure a 25 – 20 win.
It was the old cliché of a game of two halves, in which the Waratahs scored fifteen unanswered points in the first half, only for the Chiefs to comeback in the second, scoring 20 unanswered points to take the lead in the last ten minutes of the match. All the momentum was with the Chiefs late in the game, but the Waratahs put together one last attack to put John Ulugia over and secure a surprise victory.
In the process the Waratahs kept a record going of losing just one match in Super Rugby to the Chiefs, something they are quite proud of, considering the form of the Chiefs over the last few years.
It was a team effort that saw the Waratahs run out an early lead, even though they lost Drew Mitchell early in the match. For the Chiefs, Andrew Horrell was stretchered off after the first quarter, and can be described as a blessing in disguise. In his place, Gareth Anscombe came on and took the game by the horns.
He scored a try, almost scored a second not long after, all the while kicking ten points in playing catch-up rugby. It was all too much as they played their hearts out and still came up short.
The Waratahs are slowly building confidence, starting to catch up with the leading Australian teams in the Brumbies and the Reds, while the Chiefs are set to lose their number one status on the New Zealand log as the Blues pick up four points on their bye and go past them. Next up the Waratahs travel to South Africa to take on the Bulls while the Chiefs await the travelling Sharks.
By Richard Ferguson