THE Waratahs will take a painful lesson into Friday's game against the Rebels: never lose focus.
Despite an excellent scrum, good work at the breakdown and ferocious defence, a final, fatigue-fuelled lapse of concentration led to Reds winger Dom Shipperley's fatal run down the wing.
''[In] Super Rugby you're not going to get away with a 35-minute performance in a half, you have to play every minute, you have to play the 80 minutes out,'' Waratahs coach Michael Foley said.
''I think discipline generally is a concept that every team works very hard on and often people don't go out there and intend to make those types of discipline errors but fatigue can creep into it and that can affect your decision-making process, which means that a player errs towards that type of situations.''
Foley said he did not speak to halfback Brendan McKibbin, who kicked the ball into the Reds' right corner with 25 seconds on the clock, allowing Queensland reserve Ben Lucas to collect it and distribute to centre Ben Tapuai, nor to Tom Carter, who directed McKibbin to kick.
''No, we spoke to the entire team, we don't like to necessarily isolate moments and attribute results to them. We had a chat about where we could improve,'' he said.
With a Melbourne Rebels back line potentially boasting James O'Connor, Danny Cipriani and Kurtley Beale concentration will be important, Foley said.
''I think any team that boasts [those players], there'll be threats and that will test our defence and our defence needs to be right up to speed,'' he said.
''But I think also there'll be opportunities for us that we need to take; we're very aware of the threat the Rebels pose and it's a significantly greater threat than what they put out last year.''
Berrick Barnes could return to the starting line-up against the Rebels but Foley said he would consider keeping Daniel Halangahu in the playmaking role.
''I think we'll look at that,'' he said. ''No doubt Daniel's performance … was very good so we'll consider that and Berrick can play 10, 12 and 15.''
The mental game will be equally important. The loss will be digested and pushed to the back.
''We spoke about that in the change room, each individual has to deal with it, we need to move on from the disappointment quickly,'' Foley said after the game. ''The season doesn't stop, we've got a six-day turnaround into another derby match against a team that's been sitting there waiting for us for their first game of the season.
''And there were enough positives in that game for us to focus on those things to take forward to next week.''
The performance of the Waratahs' Wallabies-studded forward pack was one of those positives.
Returning No. 8 Wycliff Palu scored the team's first try, prop Benn Robinson was instrumental in their dominant scrum and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau delighted the crowd by outrunning gun Queensland backs Will Genia and Luke Morahan for an apparent try that was eventually called back as a Waratahs knock-on.
''Well it wasn't [a try] apparently so oh well,'' Polota-Nau said. ''Mind you I was trying to get my breath back after that dash … Obviously I heard some boos but I didn't know what they were booing about.''
Sarel Pretorius scored the try that looked to have locked in a Waratahs victory and continued to stun his teammates with his speed in attack. McKibbin replaced him immediately following the try. ''Sarel had started to tighten up and get cramps so we made the decision to take him off,'' Foley said.