The Aussie Super Rugby duck has been broken at last, with the Waratahs did what no other Super Ruby League Australian Conference side has been able to do since near the end of 2016: beat one of the New Zealand sides.
The Highlanders were playing a man short, as Tevita Nabura was sent off the ground in Sydney for kicking the Tahs Cam Clark in the face in what has been described as a brazen red card offense.
That came in the 18th minute of the game, so the Waratahs had 62 minutes to exploit the advantage and won going away by the score of 41 – 12.
Clark made light of the incident following the game, telling reporters, “I don’t have a martial arts background,” he joked, before adding: “It’s a tough one. You grow up as a back three player contesting high balls. He [Nabura] has obviously been taught to protect himself, use the hard parts of your body, and I guess it’s unlucky he’s kicked his foot out at the wrong time and got his timing wrong. But nothing [more] on my end. It’s happened, get on with the job.”
The Super Rugby Australian Conference teams were 0 for 2017 against the Kiwis and the Waratahs, in particular, were in a forgiving mood after playing a complete game from start to finish, the first in recent memory.
Clark acknowledged that fact, saying, “The last couple of weeks we’ve played some really good footy in patches, and we talked about not taking a step in the wrong direction [on Saturday], so we had permission to go out and have a really good go at what we know we can do.”
It remains to be seen if the Waratahs can back the win when they head to Hamilton to take on the Chiefs, and it would not be sarcastic in any way to suggest that a smart strategy would be to paint targets on their faces.