The Waratahs had a 15-0 lead at the break but were overrun in the second half, with the Hurricanes taking the match 22-18.
The visitors’ skipper, Ardie Savea, crossed for the match-winning try in the 75th minute, the five-pointer putting the Hurricanes in front for the first time in the game.
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“It feels like it got away from us a little bit,” Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon told Stan Sport.
“We controlled possession for a lot of that first half. They came out of the blocks really quickly in the second half and we had trouble controlling that.
“We’re still far from the complete package, but we’re getting there.”
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In front of a vocal Leichhardt Oval crowd, the Waratahs made all the running in the first half as the visitors struggled, especially with their scrum.
Hurricanes front-rowers Xavier Numia and Tyrel Lomax were both hooked before half-time, and their replacements, Tevita Mafileo and former All Black Owen Franks, immediately had an impact on the game.
“You look at the half-time score, 15-0, you always knew the Hurricanes were going to get more ball than they had in the first half,” former Wallaby Tim Horan said on Stan Sport.
“Then the power and experience, the way they handled that second half, there was no panic.
“I reckon the Hurricanes won the match in that first half, hanging tough and not being down by 20, 22 points. They were only down by 15. In the second half they knew they’d get more possession, they’re a brilliant team and handled it well.”
The Waratahs had reserve prop Paddy Ryan red-carded in the 77th minute for a high shot on Jordie Barrett.
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