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Less than a week after signing to the HSBC Waratahs for the 2009 Super 14 season, Peter Playford scored two tries to help the defending Super 14 runners up to a 17-5 win over the Queensland Reds in their opening 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.
The first half of the match was distinct in its difference, with an arm wrestle in the opening 20 minutes gradually turning NSW 's way in the run to half time.
Kurtley Beale was instrumental in the Waratahs first score, with some nice handling putting Peter Playford across for the opening try of the game.
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 authority on the match continued 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.
The Waratahs return to Sydney on Sunday afternoon and head into camp in the Hunter Valley on Tuesday ahead of Friday's trial with the Fiji Warriors at EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle.
HSBC Waratahs 17 (Peter Playford 2, Mitch Inman tries; Kurtley Beale con) d Queensland Reds 5 (Will Genia try) at Gold Park, Toowoomba. Half-time: HSBC Waratahs 17-5. Referee: Paul Marks
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The New South Wales Waratahs and broader rugby community is today in shock after the tragic passing of former NSW Waratahs lock, Dan Vickerman.