Shipperley saves the Reds
Winger's late try breaks the hearts of the Waratahs
Last Updated: 25/02/12 11:08am
Dom Shipperley spared the blushes of the Reds as the winger scored a try as the siren sounded to snatch a 25-21 win over the Waratahs.
Shipperley broke through two tackles and showed superb pace to break the hearts of the home side, who thought they had upset the defending champions.
Wycliff Palu and Sarel Pretorius crossed for the Waratahs, while skipper Daniel Halangahu added 11 points with the boot.
But the Reds, who without the enigmatic Quade Cooper had lacked any cutting edge in the backs, showed that they can win ugly with Shipperley's late winner.
Mike Harris, in for the injured Cooper, had kept the Reds in the game with six penalties and then added the conversion - taking his tally in Super Rugby to 15 successive kicks at goal.
The first half had been a real arm wrestle, with plenty of physicality but little spark in attack.
Halangahu opened the scoring with a beautifully-struck 49m penalty in the second minute, only for the Reds to quickly respond through the boot of Harris.
The New Zealand-born fly-half found the target with two more attempts to see the Reds move 9-3 in front.
The 'Tahs, though, scored the opening try when Palu went over. The Reds thought they had escaped when Genia snaffled the ball as it squirted out of the 'Tahs scrum on 5m, however he lost the ball in the tackle and Palu was gifted a simple score.
Harris, though, hit back with a penalty on the stroke of half-time to see the Reds lead 12-8.
That advantage was cut to just a point immediately after the break, with Halangahu making no mistake.
Once again, though, the trusty boot of Harris kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Reds, although it was the 'Tahs who looked the more threatening.
Halangahu was off-target with a penalty, while Tatafu Polota-Nau thought he had scored when he charged over but play was pulled back for a knock-on.
However Halangahu cut the gap to 15-14 with a penalty from close range before new signing Pretorius sniped around the edge of a breakdown to score.
Halangahu's conversion saw the home side lead 21-15 - although Harris continued his impressive kicking run with another penalty to set up a thrilling finale.
And the Waratahs were made to pay for a lack of composure at the death as they missed touch in the dying seconds - and that set up the platform for Shipperley to strike.