Flyhalf Bernard Foley converted a penalty with the last kick of the game to give New South Wales Waratahs a 30-27 comeback victory over the Auckland Blues at Sydney Football Stadium yesterday.
The Waratahs trailed 24-10 at halftime and made heavy work of it, but ultimately tries from winger Drew Mitchell, fullback Israel Folau and Foley helped secure a second victory this year.
The Blues scored first half tries through James Parsons, Chris Noakes and Charles Piutau, but Noakes’s second penalty was their only score of the second-half as they fell to a second straight defeat.
The Waratahs were already 3-0 down courtesy of Noakes’s opening penalty when Wallabies winger Mitchell scored the first try of the match, finishing off a slick move by touching down in the corner in the seventh minute.
However, the hosts’ lineout woes continued and the Blues hit back four minutes later when hooker Parsons showed good pace to score after the Waratahs had allowed the ball to go loose from their own throw.
Mitchell, dropped for last week’s defeat to the Cheetahs, immediately took the Waratahs deep into the Blues half, but a sledgehammer of a tackle from center Rene Ranger on Foley rocked the ball loose.
From then on, the half was all Blues. After 28 minutes, Noakes shrugged off lock Sitaleki Timani to score under the posts and farcical defending led to another try for fullback Piutau three minutes later.
Scrumhalf Piri Weepu sent a testing kick down the pitch after a turnover and replacement Waratahs scrumhalf Matt Lucas misjudged it, allowing George Moala to pounce before releasing Piutau for the score.
HONG KONG SEVENS
AP, HONG KONG
Fiji has successfully defended its Hong Kong Sevens rugby title by coming from 19-0 down at halftime to beat Wales 26-19 in the final yesterday.
Substitute Osea Kolinisau starred with three tries, but Fiji’s record-extending 12th Hong Kong title was tinged by controversy.
Halfway through a first-half dominated by first-time finalist Wales, Lee Williams was spear-tackled onto his head by Ilai Tinai, who was lucky to be carded yellow and not red.
In Tinai’s absence, Wales scored its third try and was in command by the break.
However, Fiji’s replacements paid off, with a three-try blitz in less than three minutes. With a minute left, a tap penalty from inside Fiji’s half ended with Kolinisau scoring the winning try, converted by Emosi Mulevoro.