Waratahs down for the count after Super Rugby derby debacle

Sam Carter of the Brumbies holds the Dan Vickerman Cup following the Round 4 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Brumbies.
Sam Carter of the Brumbies holds the Dan Vickerman Cup following the Round 4 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Brumbies. PAUL MILLER

THE Waratahs look like a heavyweight boxer without power in either hand.

There's big names in the team, but no punch in their attack.

This was a terrible spectacle, there's no sugar-coating it.

In a match supposed to showcase the best of Australian rugby, the derby between the Waratahs and Brumbies, which the Brumbies won 28-12, only served to highlight the attacking shortcomings plaguing the nation.

There were a staggering 30 knock-ons at Allianz Stadium.

Greasy conditions are no excuse.

Aside from Henry Speight's piece of magic in the 61st minute, running onto a chip, regathering and beating Israel Folau before chipping over Bryce Hegarty and diving on the ball at the line, there was barely a moment worth remembering.

The alarming aspect of this all is how little both teams create in attack with good platforms; the Waratahs particularly.

NSW's attacking cohesion is lacking; they miss the direction of Bernard Foley and general go-forward with fast recycling.

Everything seems pedestrian, laboured.

Forwards take an age to get to ground, and defences are set for the next hit-up.

The backline rarely creates three-on-two situations.

When they do, the ball most often is spilt or passed behind the supporting runner.

The Brumbies showed nothing more than making less mistakes and capitalising on some of their opportunities.

On this showing, neither side can win the premiership.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, sitting in the stands and scratching around for any positives, has a major worry to contend with.

Who exactly is standing up in Australian rugby at the moment saying 'I'm going to make a difference in August against the All Blacks?'

The Waratahs have now lost three successive games and dropped to 16th on the Super Rugby table.

They have a short turnaround, playing the improved Rebels in Melbourne next Friday.

Then it's the mighty Crusaders and the defending champion Hurricanes back to back.

This is the season right here in front of them.

Lose two of three and their finals aspirations are virtually over.

Other than some miraculous injection of form brought by Foley's return, it's difficult to see where their spark comes from.

Topics:  brumbies super rugby waratahs

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