Waratahs humiliated in loss to Cheetahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs humiliated in loss to Cheetahs

Darren Walton 20/03/2011 12:13:42 AM Comments (0)

The NSW Waratahs suffered one of their most embarrassing defeats in Super Rugby history on Saturday night, falling 26-3 to the lowly Cheetahs at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Second-half tries to winger Phillip Snyman and replacement Sarel Pretorius, plus two conversions and three penalty goals from flyhalf Sias Obersohn earned the touring South Africans their first-ever Super win in Australasia - and first win at all in 2011.

A 30th-minute penalty from fullback Kurtley Beale was NSW's only offering in another clumsy display from the Waratahs, who had been desperate to get their campaign back on track following last week's bye and a round-three loss to the Crusaders.

Disgruntled fans either booed their side at fulltime or began filing out of the ground early as the Waratahs recorded their lowest points total at home in 16 years of Super Rugby.

Stand-in captain Dean Mumm, deputising for injured stalwart Phil Waugh, said the jeers hurt.

"It's never nice, is it?" Mumm said.

"But the disappointment in our own performance is greater than the crowd's.

"We're very disappointed. We set very high standards and, when we don't meet them, it's a really big reality check for us.

"We just didn't perform basically."

Compounding the Waratahs' misery was a rib injury to Benn Robinson that forced the Wallabies prop off after just 17 minutes.

Robinson was booked in for scans on Sunday.

Few would have predicted the Cheetahs' historic victory in the opening minutes when the Waratahs came out firing, creating several scoring opportunities with Beale and returning flyhalf Berrick Barnes looking particularly threatening.

Alas, the Tahs were unable to convert their early dominance into points and were made to pay.

"As I said all week, the Cheetahs are a side that you can't under-estimate," Waratahs coach Chris Hickey said.

"And if you leave three tries out on the park in the first 20 minutes, you just open the door and invite them to come through and they kicked the door down and came through."

The Waratahs faithful must have sensed it wasn't going to be their night when flanker Pat McCutcheon - filling the enormous boots of 126-gamer Waugh - spilt the ball with the line beckoning with a half-hour remaining.

After a great bust from replacement back-rower Dave Dennis, all McCutcheon had to do was collect the final pass and stroll five metres - but, to gasps of disbelief, he dropped the ball cold.

The Tahs only trailed 9-3 before that turning point.

The demoralising defeat adds even greater significance to next week's Australian derby with the Brumbies in Canberra.

"We've got to move forward," Mumm said. "We've got a lot of work to do."

NSW's shock loss and Queensland's record-breaking 53-3 win over the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night propelled the Reds to the top of the Australian conference.

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