Moana Pasifika officially end Waratahs' finals hopes

May 25, 2024 4:50 pm

[Source: Super Rugby Pacific]

The hosts produced one of their best performances of the season to punish the Waratahs and leave them on the verge of the wooden spoon.

Moana Pasifika took a 14-0 lead into the break as late inclusion Kyren Taumoefolau tormented their defence.

Legendary prop Sekope Kepu dived over for an emotional try to give them a commanding lead.

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Two late tries to the Waratahs gave them brief hope but the hosts hung on for the win.

Wiped out of every one of their contracted front-rowers, the Waratahs always faced an uphill battle competing physically with the bruising Moana Pasifika forward pack.

And so it proved as the Pasifika side ran in the first four tries to open up a match-winning 27-0 lead inside the hour mark.

Powerhouse No.8 Lotu Inisi collected a double after fullback Kyren Taumoefolau crossed for the opening try in the 15th minute.

Inspirational former Waratahs and Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu brought the house down when he stormed over to put the icing on the cake.

The Waratahs had to settle for two late consolation tries to back-rower Langi Gleeson and strike centre Izaia Perese.

While the Tahs can start planning for 2025, Moana’s fourth win of the season has given them a slim hope of making the finals if they can topple struggling defending champions the Crusaders next week in Christchurch.

Saturday’s four-tries-to-two defeat at G0 Media Stadium left the last-placed Tahs with no mathematical hope of scraping into the finals.

Instead they must beat the Queensland Reds in their last game of the season next Friday at Allianz Stadium to avoid sending off outgoing coach Darren Coleman with the dreaded wooden spoon.