MELBOURNE – The Waratahs ran the Western Force ragged in a 28-8 win on the Gold Coast on Friday to keep their playoff hopes alive in Super Rugby AU.
Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks and Harry Johnson-Holmes scored the tries for the Waratahs, with young flyhalf Will Harrison booting 13 points off the tee at Robina Stadium.
Another two tries went begging in the second half, though, with Maddocks and teammate Jake Gordon’s five-pointers ruled out by video review.
The rebuilding Waratahs, who smashed the Reds 45-12 last week, notched back-to-back wins for the first time in the five-team domestic competition to move to second, behind the Brumbies, with three rounds left before the playoffs.
The Melbourne Rebels can leapfrog both the Waratahs and Brumbies with victory over the Reds on Saturday.
Waratahs flanker and former captain Michael Hooper celebrated victory in his 150th Super Rugby match, the tireless 28-year-old the youngest player to reach the milestone.
“I never really thought I’d get here,” said the Wallaby. “It’s just gone so quick … It’s positive signs (tonight), we’re starting to build a winning culture again.”
The Perth-based Force, the only non-Super Rugby team in the competition, started strongly with an early try to Brynard Stander and battled hard for the whole 80 minutes.
But they were held scoreless after captain Iain Prior’s penalty in the 28th minute and are still searching for their first win after seven rounds.