Last minute penalty sinks Blues

Last minute penalty sinks Blues

A last minute penalty to Bernard Foley clinched a 30-27 victory for the Waratahs over the Blues in Sydney this afternoon.
In sweltering conditions across the Tasman, the Blues surrendered a 24-10 halftime lead with an error ridden second half performance, and when lock Culum Retallick was caught offside after the hooter, Waratahs first five-eighths Bernard Foley banged over the match winning kick.
The loss maintained the Blues’ poor record against the Waratahs in Sydney as they failed to break a 10 year drought and managed just a sole penalty in the second half.
After a week off with the bye, the Blues were expected to be refreshed, revitalised and ready to rip in against the under-performing Waratahs.
Instead they produced their worst performance of the season, making countless handling errors and handing the game to the hosts on a platter.
In contrast the Waratahs put together their most complete game of the season. Head coach Michael Cheika read the riot act to his team after their one point loss to the Cheetahs last week and they responded appropriately.
Returning to action after missing the match against the Bulls, first five-eighths Chris Noakes landed an early penalty kick but it was the Waratahs who claimed the first try of the game through Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell.
From a lineout, halfback Brendan McKibbin doubled around Bernard Foley to create the overlap and from there the ball was fed through the hands as Mitchell dived over in the corner.
But Blues hooker James Parsons hit back immediately with a runaway try after the Waratahs had stolen a lineout.
Culum Retallick latched onto the loose ball from the lineout and managed to offload to Parsons who showed an incredible turn of pace to charge 40 metres downfield, beating two players on his way to the try line.
Noakes and McKibbin then traded penalty kicks before Noakes finished off some sustained pressure by the Blues to ghost through a gap between two tiring forwards and score.
Moments later the Blues were in again thanks to a superb turnover from enigmatic centre Rene Ranger.
The Northland star did brilliantly to pilfer the ball, and as Piri Weepu chipped the ball behind the Waratahs defence, a strong kick-chase from George Moala harassed the retreating Matt Lucas as the Blues winger claimed the ball and offloaded to Charles Piutau who scampered over the line.
Leading 24-10 at the break, the Blues took their foot off the pedal in the second stanza and allowed the Waratahs to storm back into contention.
Code swapping star Israel Folau scored a fine try seven minutes after the break following a lovely break by Foley, and the first five-eighths then went one better by scampering over the try line himself to tie the game at 24-all with 14 minutes to go.
Foley and Noakes then traded penalty kicks in the dying stages of the game as it looked destined to end as a draw, but Retallick’s indiscretion after the hooter gave Foley the opportunity to clinch the match, which he duly did.
The Blues have just six days to turn things around before heading to Mount Maunganui to face defending champions the Chiefs.