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A proper derby: Reds triumph in cracker at Leichhardt

Photo by The Daily Rugby

It was a simple statement yet it summed up the Bob Templeton Cup match between NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds on Friday night at Leichhardt Oval.

Coming off the field at half-time following a frenetic, physical and surprisingly skilful first 40 minutes, a sodden and steaming Waratahs hooker Dave Porecki told TV man Sean Maloney: “It’s a proper rugby match, isn’t it.”


It wasn’t a question. And it certainly was. It was a proper derby game, too. It was passionate, physical, niggly.

Defence was ascendant, but only just. It was all men could do to hang on.

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In the end it was hard to separate the teams. But Queensland’s defensive effort and commitment, and ability to take their chances, saw them beat NSW 20-16.

If anything, the Waratahs – who didn’t win a game in 2021 and played this one without their champion flanker, Michael Hooper – were the better team against last year’s local premiers.

In terms of possession and territory, NSW had the numbers. They ran and ran, and Queensland threw themselves at mobile bodies.

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