Foley steals win for Waratahs in last minute

Getty Images     25 Mar 2013     Getty Images

The Waratahs scored the opening five-pointer of the contest but the Blues answered emphatically with three unanswered tries to lead 24-10 at the interval.

Israel Folau started the hosts' comeback with a try seven minutes in before Foley barged over in the 66th minute to draw level at 24-all as the hot conditions began to take their toll on the visitors.

Foley and Chris Noakes traded penalties in the final 10 minutes before Culum Retallick was pinged for offside after the siren.

Second-choice kicker Foley held his nerve to slot the winning goal from 35m out and directly in front to spark jubilant celebrations amongst Waratahs players and the raucous 16,429 crowd.

The Waratahs flyhalf kicked a perfect three-from-three with the boot after first-choice kicker Brendan McKibbin succumbed to a shoulder injury in the 29th minute, while Noakes landed three conversions and a penalty goal from six attempts.

The victory lifts the Waratahs from fifth to third on the Australian Conference ladder while the Blues join the Crusaders on 16 points in equal second in the New Zealand conference.

The Blues hit the front in the third minute via a Noakes penalty but the Waratahs answered immediately with a slick first-phase try from an attacking lineout.

McKibbin wrapped around Foley and flung the ball immediately wide to a flying Adam Ashley-Cooper.

The Waratahs veteran immediately shifted to full-back Folau who attracted two defenders to give winger Drew Mitchell a clear passage to the tryline.

McKibbin converted from out wide for a 7-3 lead in the eighth minute.

The hosts stole a Blues lineout throw moments later but their good work backfired when Mitchell was unable to collect the loose ball.

Blues lock Culum Retallick swooped and offloaded to hooker James Parsons who galloped 40m for a converted try to reclaim the lead at 10-7.

McKibbin levelled things up with a penalty in the 22nd minute but the Blues answered with two tries in three minutes on the half-hour to take a commanding 24-10 break.

Noakes was first to strike when he ghosted through a gaping hole in the hosts' defensive line and converted his own try from directly in front.

The Waratahs suffered a further blow when McKibbin was forced from the field with a shoulder injury.

His replacement Matt Lucas made an inauspicious start when he fumbled a Piri Weepu kick to gift Charles Piutau a converted try after winger George Moala regathered.

Noakes again converted to send the Bleus into the sheds with a handy 14-point buffer.

Waratahs 30 (Drew Mitchell, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley tries; Brendan McKibbin con, pen; Foley con, 2 pen) Blues 27 (James Parsons, Chris Noakes, Charles Piutau tries, Noakes 3 con, 2 pen). HT: 10-24