Waratahs

Waratahs stunned at Latu's suspension but accept ban

NSW grudgingly accepted a six-match suspension for Latu on Tuesday after he plead guilty to a dangerous charge into a ruck or maul, under law 9.20, against the Sunwolves.

Ed Quirk suffered a knee injury in a 79th minute incident, and though appearing to have a case to argue Latu was within his rights to tackle the ball carrier, the Waratahs plead guilty and anticipated a mid-range, 3-4 week penalty.

Spear tackles usually attract four week bans, and Bulls forward Pierre Schoeman was suspended for six weeks last year for biting Richard Hardwick.

Foley miss seals Hurricanes win

Foley, who surpassed Matthew Burke's record of 959 points with a third-minute penalty goal at Brookvale Oval, had landed all five of his earlier attempts on Saturday night.

But with just over a minute left, the normally reliable pressure kicker failed to land a penalty from just beyond 30 metres, to the horror of most of the 17,111 sellout crowd.

Hunt, Ashley-Cooper confirmed for round one starts

Beale played 31 games last year, the most of any Australian player, and featured in almost every minute of those outings at both Super Rugby and Test level.

He is one of seven Wallabies who were rested from the preseason trials as part of a plan to manage international players ahead of the World Cup but he is the only one who will sit out the Hurricanes clash.

Hunt's performances at training since joining the club last month and in those trial games were enough to give Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson the confidence to keep Beale on ice for one more week.

Waratahs fall to Chiefs in tight Super battle

The Waratahs got off to a flyer on Saturday night, leading 14-0, and looked in great shape to back up their win over the Highlanders, which ended 40 straight losses for Australian teams against Kiwi foes.

The game was closer than the scoreline suggests, with just two points separating the teams with five minutes remaining.

But Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie scored his second try after the final siren to claim a bonus-point win and ensure the Waratahs left empty-handed.

Blues keep Aussie teams winless

Not even the return of an inspired Israel Folau could save the Waratahs from suffering a 38th straight defeat for Australian teams against New Zealand opposition in Super Rugby.

Topping the Australian conference and up against the cellar dwellers from the New Zealand conference, the Waratahs had been well fancied to snap the near-two- year run of losses in trans-Tasman encounters.

The Blues had won just two of their nine matches in 2018 to be all but out of finals contention.

Folau stands firm in beliefs ahead of Waratahs comeback

Folau, an Evangelical Christian, wrote on his Instagram page last month that gays would be condemned to "hell" if they failed to "repent", sparking outrage on social media and criticism from a key sponsor.

The 29-year-old, who faced no sanction from Rugby Australia (RA), is now set to feature in the Waratahs' game against the Blues in Sydney tomorrow night after recovering from a hamstring injury.

"I've said what I said in recent weeks," Folau told reporters on Thursday. "I stand firm on what I believe in and that's from something personal with who I am.

Waratahs coach wants Folau to stay

Gibson said he wanted Folau, who is off-contract at the end of 2018, to stay in rugby, but that those conversations were initially, at least, between the Test star and the national body.

Rugby Australia is yet to publicly respond to Folau's article, though after their meeting last week, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said they still wanted Folau to stick with the sport.

It is unclear exactly what the organisation's next step will be after Monday night.

Opening win a mental boost for Waratahs

The Waratahs stole an opening victory over the Stormers in the 81st minute on Saturday night, with a Ned Hanigan try snatching the result, in a finish Fitzpatrick said was critical psychologically.

Scores were even for almost the entire match, until Hanigan snuck over after full-time, with the Waratahs providing a display of grit that was rare in 2017.

“Psychologically for us, it's huge,” Fitzpatrick said post-match.

“Going to the airport getting on the plane, full of confidence now that we can go 80 minutes.We were probably unlucky not to be winning by that stage.

Foketi finding his feet in second Super Rugby chance

The 23-year-old played Super Rugby for the Rebels in 2014, signed from Shute Shield club Manly after playing Australian Schoolboys and U20s, and came in with plenty of high hopes.

Though he made his Super Rugby debut in that season, he played just 12 minutes all year, before being released.

“Going to Melbourne when I was 18, I didn’t know what to do - it was my first time living out of home and I was like a little kid in a candy store, being in a Super Rugby team that early,” he said.

Waratahs pack not worried about perception

NSW farewelled experienced duo Dean Mumm and Will Skelton at the end of last season, and they’ll be missing veteran tighthead Sekope Kepu in the first two rounds of 2018, taking a big chunk of recognition out of their team.

That’s not to say they are all rookies - Wallabies lock Rob Simmons joined the club this season and their skipper Michael Hooper has nearly 100 Super Rugby caps as well - but this isn’t the Waratahs makeup of old.