Foley fires Waratahs to comeback win
March 24, 2013

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 on Sunday.

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 second half was excellent, they are a good side and that's a good win for this group," said Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis. "It's all about working for each other and we showed that today so I'm really happy."

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.

The home side's lineout woes continued, however, 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 centre 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.

The Waratahs turned around 24-10 down but Lucas was able to make some amends for his error seven minutes after the break when his pass set fullback Folau free to score after a smart break from Foley.

The flyhalf brought the scores level at 24-24 after 66 minutes when he converted his own try, having cut through the defence at the end of a five-minute assault on the Blues line.

A storming run from replacement back Tom Kingston forced the penalty that put the home side ahead in the 70th minute but Noakes tied the match up again two minutes later.

Folau blew an excellent chance of scoring the deciding try on 75 minutes and Foley screwed a drop goal attempt wide two minutes later but the former Australian sevens skipper soon made amends with his second penalty to win the match.

"Individually, we probably made too many mistake and weren't able to apply any pressure," said Blues skipper Ali Williams. "It is what it is and we'll just go back to the drawing board."


Waratahs – Tries: Drew Mitchell, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin, Foley (2). Penalties: McKibbin, Foley (2).

Blues – Tries: James Parsons, Chris Noakes, Charles Piutau. Conversions: Noakes (3). Penalties: Noakes (2).

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