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Waratahs thumped again as Super Rugby finals hopes fade

The NSW Waratahs’ finals hopes to remain in tatters following yet another Super Rugby Pacific flop.

If it wasn’t evident already, the table-topping Hurricanes exposed the Waratahs as 2024 title pretenders with a 41-12 thrashing in Wellington on Friday night.

The Tahs’ latest crushing bonus-point defeat left them with a galling two-from-10 record, and the coaching staff at the one-time Australian benchmark outfit didn’t pull their punches in assessing the performance.

“We’re coming second, by a long way,” NSW assistant coach Chris Whitaker said of the Waratahs’ meek first-half effort at Sky Stadium.

“The contact area was pretty poor, both sides of the ball.

“We’re not tackling hard enough, not carrying hard enough. Speed ​​around the field is probably not up to it either.”

Stinging from a first loss of the season last week to the Brumbies, the Hurricanes came out firing.

First-half tries to winger Billy Proctor, five-eighth Brett Cameron, winger Joshua Moorby and No.8 Brayden Iose earned the hosts a virtually unbeatable 26-0 lead at the break.

A try-scoring double from electric replacement Salesi Rayasi put the issue beyond doubt, despite late second-half crosses for Waratahs duo Hugh Sinclair and Vuate Karawalevu.

An eighth loss of the season leaves the Waratahs languishing in second-last spot on the ladder and needing to string a succession of wins together in the closing rounds to scrape into the top eight.