‘Something’s not working’: Tahs’ Good Friday turns into a nightmare as Rebels recruit Daugunu seals upset win


The Waratahs’ season has gone from bad to worse, as their Good Friday turned into a nightmare.

After three straight defeats by less than three points, the Waratahs suffered a 27-21 loss to the Rebels in Sydney to heap more pressure on their coach Darren Coleman.

Making it even more painful was the manner of the defeat.

After Will Harrison slipped a lovely ball to help Jack Grant score a late try for the home to close the margin to a point, the Waratahs fluffed their lines deep in their own territory to gift the visitors a five-metre scrum in the final few minutes.

The Rebels eventually made it count, as Rebels recruit Filipo Daugunu sealed the deal by scoring out wide.

Filipo Daugunu runs in to score the match sealing try against the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on March 29, 2024, in Sydney. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

But the dramatic finish really wasn’t enough to make up for what a terribly match, where both sides struggled with their execution on a night where there were few excuses given the beautiful mild conditions.

In total there were 36 turnovers, while the Waratahs were on the end of a 18-4 penalty count after being smashed at the scrum in the absence of Wallabies prop Angus Bell.

Yet, the Rebels did little to capitalise on the Waratahs’ scrum issues as they won just 14 of 20 lineouts.

The frustration was written all over Waratahs captain Jake Gordon’s face, as the halfback bemoaned their inability to seize the moment.

“Pretty poor finish,” Gordon said.

“Back and forth throughout the game and once again put ourselves in a position to compete but [we] stuffed up a kick off.”

Asked if there were one or two simple fixes to turn their narrow losses into wins, Gordon admitted something wasn’t right given their inability to eke out a win.

“It’s getting a bit repetitive now,” he said.

“We are competing but we want to be a good team and good teams ice those opportunities.

“We’ve got to review those moments but there’s something’s not working, especially when the heat’s on us so it’s disappointing.”

The Waratahs looks dejected after conceding a late try to the Rebels at Allianz Stadium on March 29, 2024, in Sydney. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

In stark contrast, Rebels captain Rob Leota had something to smile about in his 50th match.

“It’s massive for us,” Leota said. “To come away and win on the road is definitely big. It gives us a lot of confidence ahead of going back home next week.

“We just had a lot of honest conversations and meetings. We knew in the contact area we weren’t good enough in attack or defence.”

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