The Waratahs took a page out of the Crusaders book when they came from behind to win against the Rebels on Friday 32-25.
It was literal a game of two half with the Rebels leading 25-6 at the break scoring 3 tries to only the two penalties from the Waratahs and a second half that saw the Waratahs scoring all the points to win the game.
This leaves the Rebels without a win for the season and still in search for that first win to get going. The Waratahs needed this win to stay in touch in the Aussie conference and they did it in style that second half.
Hodge was on song both with ball in hand and off the kicking tee and opened the scoring with a penalty on four minutes which made it 3-0.
First, with the game breaking up, Hodge stepped before crossing from 35 metres out and with his extras the gap was stretched to seven.
The Rebels scored a great try when Amanaki Mafi’s offload found Jack Debreczeni, who then passed to English, the centre strolled over to make it 20-6 with the extras. It was clear which side was on top and which was low on confidence.
The half was to get worse for the Waratahs too when Hodge barged over from close range.
Twenty five to six down the Waratahs needed to respond and surely did what their coach asked them to do in that second half. It took the Tahs nine minutes after the resumption for flanker Hanigan to finish well down the left wing, bumping off the last man. With the successful conversion from wide out, the gap was down to 12 points.
Gibson must have been thrilled to see his players’ continued fight and when they snubbed a kickable three points in favour of the scrum in a bold call, the sight of Robinson diving over on the right wing meant it was now 25-18 on the hour. Foley was off-target with his conversion.
It was therefore a grandstand finish as the ‘Tahs needed a converted try to level matters in Melbourne, which would help keep the pressure on their other Australian rivals.
And they got just that and a whole lot more as first Wells went over before Horwitz sealed a remarkable win, stunning the Rebels and the Waratahs will hope kickstarting their campaign.
Tries: Hodge 2, English
Cons: Hodge 2
Pens: Hodge 2
Yellow Card: Fainga’a
Tries: Hanigan, Robinson, Wells, Horwitz
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 2