‘Frustrating’ Waratahs let early dominance go to waste

The Waratahs’ winless Super Rugby trans-Tasman campaign has continued after going down to the Highlanders 59-23 in Dunedin.

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While the scoreboard tells a different story, the Waratahs, who came into the match as underdogs, had their chances during the first half.

The Waratahs on three occasions during the opening 40 minutes hit the front and looked at times to be on top of the Highlanders before the Dunedin-based side responded on each occasion.

Unable to score a single point in the second half, the Highlanders ultimately blew the men from New South Wales off the park as they walked away with both the win and a bonus point.

The loss for the Waratahs keeps them at the bottom of the table, while the Highlanders jump to the second spot.

During the half-time break, while the Waratahs were only down by 10 points at the time, former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika couldn’t hold back his “frustration” after the Waratahs let a promising start go to waste.

“Some of the stuff they do, you want to close your eyes,” Cheika said on Stan Sport.

“They haven’t even missed a lot of tackles, but they’ve made some terrible decisions and reads.

“Frustration is a word that could resonate with everyone watching and definitely for the lads sitting up in the coaching box.

“It’s a day where the numbers tell you nothing. The Waratahs had five missed tackles minutes before half-time, now they have 11 [at the end of the first half].

“It’s more the decision making.”

Waratahs winger Alex Newsome admitted his side showed some promising signs but said their ineffectiveness at the breakdown cost them in the end.

“We lost the battle of the breakdown and we couldn’t exit efficiently either,” Newsome said after the match. “Those two things gave the Highlanders the advantage and they were too good not to take advantage of that.

“In that first half we were going try for try and it didn’t feel like an overly fast game. It’s a disappointing result for us.

Collins scores for Highlanders

“The breakdowns are really hampering us as well as some handling.

“We find we get good carries and we can make good metres when we hold onto the footy.”

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