Folau injury mars Tahs win
ISRAEL Folau will miss three crucial games after injuring his hamstring in NSW's 24-17 victory over the Brumbies.
Folau was taken off with the injury in just the fourth minute of Saturday night's game, and Tahs coach Daryl Gibson confirmed the star winger will be sidelined for up to a month.
"It looks like three or four weeks at this stage," Gibson said.
That means Folau will miss next weekend's clash against the Sunwolves in Tokyo, followed by the back-to-back crunch home games against Queensland and South African conference leaders the Lions.
"We've got guys like Cam Clark, who has been waiting patiently in the wings, we've got a number of guys we can call upon," Gibson said.
"It's part of rugby, injuries, we've just got to get on with it."
NSW overcame his loss, awful ball handling and an errant kicking display from Bernard Foley to record an important win in the round seven Super Rugby fixture.
The Tahs moved to second in the Australian conference with the hard-fought win.
"We know if we want to be part of this conference we've got to keep winning," Gibson said.
"It wasn't pretty at times with the lack of ball control, but we're certainly happy to come away with the victory."
The Brumbies had the chance to level with a converted try after the siren at GIO Stadium but the Waratahs defence held firm and produced a turnover to win their third match in five starts.
However, they turned over too much possession in attack, and Foley will be doing extra practice this week after kicking five goals from nine attempts, having come into the match with a 96% success rate.
"That guy has a knack of kicking the ones that count," NSW captain Michael Hooper said of Foley, who passed 800 Super Rugby career points during the game.
A quick double to winger Taqele Naiyaravoro either side of halftime broke the game open.
The Waratahs led 13-11 at the break, having snatched the lead after the halftime siren when Naiyaravoro scored.
The Brumbies were attacking when Lachlan McCaffrey's loose pass was picked up by NSW backrower Michael Wells.
The ball was spread wide to Naiyaravoro, who stepped around and fended rival Henry Speight and galloped over in the corner, with Foley's sideline conversion giving NSW the edge.
Three minutes after resumption, the Tahs orchestrated a beautifully intricate run-around play from a scrum that saw Folau's replacement Alex Newsome shoot through the defensive line.
He sprinted to corner before throwing a deft inside ball to Naiyaravoro in contact.
The 123kg giant bumped off a tackler to plant the ball, giving his side an 18-11 lead.
Naiyaravoro ran for 119 metres and made two line breaks on top of his double in a powerful display.
Brumbies five-eighth Wharenui Hawera kicked a penalty soon after Naiyaravoro's second to shorten the gap to four points, but by the 65th minute another Foley penalty had NSW 21-14 in front.
Hawera's 71st minute penalty goal got the Brumbies back to within a try at 21-17.
A late tackle on Kurtley Beale in his own 22 by Henry Speight saw Foley taking a shot from 30 metres out, where Beale's clearing kick landed.
Foley's kick hit the post, but allowed NSW to remain in the Brumbies' end.
In the 76th minute, with a reserve front row of Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Roach and Paddy Ryan, the Tahs monstered the Brumbies' scrum on their won feed, giving Foley another chance to extend the lead and this time he succeeded, taking the score to 24-17.
NSW had trailed 11-6 when, having traded penalties to be 6-all in the 25th minute, Brumbies winger Lausii Taliauli scored a sharp try.
Tahs backrower Jed Holloway misjudged a Brumbies kick-off and put his foot into touch after catching the ball, handing attacking possession to the home side.
Isi Naisarani took on the defence in midfield and offload in contact, setting Christian Lealiifano bursting through.
A quick recycle saw Hawera put a perfect grubber into the in-goal for Taliauli to pounce on.
David Pocock's first match in Super Rugby for 20 months was promising, as he produced a couple of trademark turnovers and ran for 30 metres.
WARATAHS 24 (Taqele Naiyaravoro 2 tries Bernard Foley con 4 pens) BRUMBIES 17 (Lausii Taliauli try Wharenui Hawera 4 pens) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Nic Berry. Crowd: 13,515.