Super 14
Waratahs too good for Reds in trial
Scrum.com
January 24, 2009
The Brumbies' Peter Playford is tackled by the Reds' defence, ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds, Super 14, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, March 1, 2008
Former Brumbies winger Peter Playford re-signed for the Waratahs during the off-season © Getty Images
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Waratahs winger Peter Playford scored two tries to help the 2008 Super 14 runners-up to a 17-5 win over the Queensland Reds in a pre-season match at Gold Park, Toowoomba.

Sporting stiches across the bridge of his nose from a hit at training earlier this week, Playford was one of a number of players who staked an early claim for Super 14 selection in the Waratahs first pre-season match for 2009.

Kurtley Beale was instrumental in the Waratahs first score, with some nice handling putting Playford in for his first try. Another experienced campaigner in Sam Norton-Knight created the Waratahs next try with a line-beating show-and-go and sidestep creating space for Playford to cross for his second.

The Waratahs took a 12-0 lead into the break, and their authoritycontinued into the third quarter. Replacement back Mitch Inman scored the Waratahs third try and sent the visitors to an unassailable 17-0 lead as the clock wound down. With lightning peppering the ground throughout the match, the heavens finally opened in the final 20 minutes making conditions difficult for both sides.

The Reds scored a consolation try through replacement half Will Genia inside the last ten minutes, but it wasn't enough to stop the Waratahs recording a 17-5 victory, and a repeat of their opening trial victory over Queensland on Australia Day 2008.

"We did some things really well that we've been working on, and we probably found a few more things that we'll need to do some more work on," said head coach Chris Hickey. "It's a sound performance first up. There's still some fine turning that needs to occur, but that's what trials are for.

"The experienced players in the squad all stepped up, and the young players we brought up [to Queensland] performed well. Mark Preston played really well when he came on, while Tim Bennetts and Damon Anderson showed some good touches in their first match out of school."

With no major injuries to report out of the match, Hickey added how happy he was with the performance of a number of players who had spent long periods on the sidelines since the conclusion of the 2008 Super 14.

"Tom Carter, Matt Carraro, Rob Horne - they've all had a extensive rehab from injuries last year and have come through the match really well which is good news," said Hickey.

QR Reds' Head Coach Phil Mooney was also upbeat, chalking the night up to experience and looking forward to raising the ante against the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

"I think both sides would be pretty happy that they were able to get some footy at last," Mooney said. "What we got out of it was in the first 20 minutes I thought our enthusiasm was good and our defence was good and then a little bit of inexperience, a couple of bad kicks and the Waratahs capitalised.

"I think it did show that we played a very young side and we did lack a bit of direction, but when you throw in some of our experienced guys it augurs well for us, I think."

League convert Mark McLinden was given plenty to do at fullback by the testing kicks of Norton Knight and Beale, but gained a pass mark from coach Phil Mooney for his efforts.

"I was really happy for Mark McLinden. It's been quite a long buildup for him with the off-season and to get a game of rugby under his belt is really good. I thought he was quite good for us tonight."

The Waratahs' next trial is against the Fiji Warriors at EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle next Friday.

Waratahs 17 (Peter Playford 2, Mitch Inman tries; Kurtley Beale con) d Queensland Reds 5 (Will Genia try) at Gold Park, Toowoomba. Half-time: Waratahs 17-5. Referee: Paul Marks.

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