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Foley boots 'Tahs to crucial win over Reds

NZN 29/04/2017 Vince Rugari

Bernard Foley has booted the NSW Waratahs to an important last-gasp 29-26 Super Rugby victory over the Queensland Reds.

Foley kicked five penalties - four of them coming in the second half - and converted each of their two tries on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium to finish with an overall contribution of 19 points.

His last penalty came in with two minutes to go, putting the Waratahs in front as the Reds - who crossed for four tries - slumped to yet another heartbreaking defeat.

Wearing old-school maroon tops and navy shorts in a pre-match surprise arranged by coach Nick Stiles, the hosts battled a lop-sided 16-5 penalty count, some contentious and many coming at moments when the game was on the line.

The win is crucial for the Waratahs as they aim to haul down Australian conference leaders the Brumbies while it puts a huge dent in the Reds' finals hopes.

Queensland's jersey switch-up was top-secret and known to only a few staff members during the week, with players finding out about it when they arrived at the ground.

Stiles had spent all week engaging in psychological warfare to reinforce the importance of the Queensland-NSW rivalry to his players, with an emotional pre-match jersey presentation the ace up his sleeve.

It inspired some periods of flashy play from the Reds but once again, they failed to make the most of their momentum in front of 18,781 fans.

Back-to-back tries from Lukhan Tui and Izaia Perese gave Queensland a comfortable 12-point lead in the 32nd minute.

But they invited the Waratahs back into the game with a horror finish to the half.

A Michael Hooper try made it 19-17 just before the siren, and then from the kick-off, Perese was yellow-carded for taking out an airborne Dean Mumm.

NSW snuck in front with a Foley penalty while he was off but the Reds struck back just as Perese returned through Stephen Moore, who scored off the back of a rolling maul for his first try since returning to the Reds.

Stiles said the Reds played some of the best rugby they have all year but believed the penalty count was decisive.

"You just want a fair go, don't you?" he said.

"I'm limited with what I can say, I'll cop a $10,000 fine. I've got to be really careful.

"Definitely some of those penalties were fair but gee, you could go back through that whole game and if that's a penalty, why aren't we getting one for exactly the same thing."

The result lifts the pressure off Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson after last week's shocking loss to the Kings.

"It's a massive boost for us given where we've been. We went back to some basic things this week and it worked for us," he said.

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