Woeful first half cruels Tahs' hopes against champions
THE Waratahs staged a comeback of sorts in the second half, but were beaten by a faster, fitter, smarter team as they sunk to their fifth loss in seven games.
The Hurricanes prevailed 38-28, a score that flattered NSW after they were down 33-7 at halftime.
The Tahs showed true grit to win the second half but in the end they leave Wellington with no points, and again missed out on the chance to go top of the Australian conference.
They head into their bye week 2-5 for the season and with yet another story of being close but not good enough.
Their defence at times was woeful missing 37 tackles overall, their scrum was demolished at times, and they made 15 handling errors.
On the plus side, they scored four well worked tries and denied the defending champions a bonus point.
NSW conceded five tries to one in the first 40.
Yet by the 47th minute the score was 33-21, with NSW scoring two early second half tries to drum up the possibility of another incredible comeback.
That was effectively snuffed out when centre Ngani Laumape scored his second try of the match following a blistering break from Beauden Barrett.
The Canes were deep in attack before losing the ball, which was kicked downfield by Bernard Foley.
But centre Matt Proctor recovered and Barrett took a pass, jigged through a staggered defence and raced upfield before unleashing Laumape, who equalled teammate Vince Aso as the competition's leading tryscorer with seven so far.
Replacement winger Andrew Kellaway scored a 71st minute try on the end of a set play in which Israel Folau attracted two defenders and gave the last pass.
Foley's conversion made the score 38-28.
NSW pushed to close the gap but they weren't clinical enough, while the Canes scrum steamrolled them twice.
In the 79th minute Beauden Barrett was red-carded for his second deliberate knockdown of the game, yet from the ensuing scrum NSW spilt the ball.
Irae Simone was held up over the line after the fulltime siren, denying the Tahs a losing bonus point.