Larkham heaps more misery on Waratahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Larkham heaps more misery on Waratahs

By Darren Walton 08/04/2007 10:41:53 PM Comments (0)

Stephen Larkham tormented the NSW Waratahs one last time as the Brumbies surged into the Super 14 top four with a crushing 36-10 victory over their arch-rivals at Canberra Stadium.

The champion five-eighth was in everything as the Brumbies ran in five tries to one to secure their first bonus-point win of the season.

In a vintage display, Larkham set up the first try, was heavily involved in the lead-up to the second, had a hand in the third and scored the fourth and fifth himself.

The 33-year-old's masterful performance - in only his third game back from injury - lifted the Brumbies above the Western Force into fourth position on the ladder and extended the Waratahs' winless run to eight matches in the process.

"He took it to the line and it was a fantastic return to form for him," beamed Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher.

"He's been building over the last few weeks and when the forwards do deliver some good quality ball it does give the opportunity for the great players to play."

Larkham, halfback George Gregan and hooker Jeremy Paul were all playing their final derbies against NSW before ending their careers overseas and the veteran trio fittingly finished with a bang, helping the Brumbies snap a four-year losing streak against the Waratahs in stylish fashion.

With Larkham untouchable, the backline on song and dynamic flanker Jone Tawake leading the Brumbies pack, the home team were never threatened from the instant Larkham put winger Mark Gerrard over for the first of his two tries in the third minute of the game.

With Tawake also crossing and Gerrard grabbing his second on the stroke of halftime, the Brumbies led 22-5 at the break.

The Waratahs briefly threatened a comeback when flanker Rocky Elsom crossed out wide following a barnstorming run from No.8 David Lyons, but Larkham's tries in the 61st and 72nd minutes completed a hat-trick of wins for the Brumbies after an indifferent start to their 2007 campaign.

The Brumbies have the bye next week before taking on the fifth-placed Force in a potentially decisive round-12 encounter in Canberra.

But while the Brumbies have set their sights on a first finals appearance since winning the title in 2004, the Waratahs remain in a desperate battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Skipper Adam Freier said finishing bottom of the ladder didn't bear thinking about, but the sorry fact is the Waratahs face the Queensland Reds in Sydney on Saturday with the loser guaranteed to end round 12 stone motherless last.

Winger Lote Tuqiri and coach Ewen McKenzie were unable to hide their frustrations after the Waratahs' fifth straight defeat.

"We've let ourselves down this year and let ourselves down again tonight," Tuqiri said.

"(We've been) talking it up but not producing on the field."

After guiding NSW to the semi-finals last year and the final in 2005, McKenzie can't buy a win now.

"It's getting to be a very difficult experience in the dressing room and in the coaching box," he said.

"This is an extreme challenge for me personally and also for the (assistant) coaches as a whole, but we're certainly not going to down tools.

"We're going to keep going and work our way through. It's just frustrating. I'm more annoyed because we're a better team than what we showed."

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