Red-hot Folau flays Rebels

Israel Folau scored two of the Waratahs' four tries as they beat the Rebels 32-8 in Sydney.

The Tahs wing has now scored eight tries in four matches this season and looks set to break the Super Rugby record of 15 held by Joe Roff and Rico Gear.

Last weekend's loss away to the Brumbies proved to be just a speed bump for Michael Chieka's team, who toiled initially against a dogged Rebels outfit. The visitors just lack the star quality possessed in Sydney, with Kurtley Beale and Folau producing star turns on the back of hard work upfront from the likes of Jacques Potgieter and Dave Dennis.

The first half was a tale of frustration for the hosts, who were unable to execute the final pass when it mattered in the Rebels half. Alofa Alofa did score in the opening five minutes and it seemed initially as if that would set the tone. The odd butchered pass just delayed what felt like an inevitable handful of tries, which the Waratahs eventually did deliver in the second half.

Peter Betham gave the home side a healthier advantage with a try shortly after the break with a simple score off the lineout, picking the perfect line to go over in the corner.

It was only five minutes until the next one, but Benn Robinson was denied in the interim of a try of his own following a knock-on in the build-up to his short-range drive by the posts. Folau then cut back on the angle to take an excellent pass from Beale and run under the sticks. Leading 25-6 with half an hour to go, it gave the Waratahs ample time to try and secure the bonus point.

They made hard work of it, unable to capitalise on a numerical advantage when Rebels flyhalf Angus Roberts was sin-binned for throwing the ball away.

But Beale, who had been excellent all night, wrapped up the five points by slicing through a gap up the middle of the Rebels defence, slowing down to draw the last man and release Folau under the sticks for his second.

Waratahs – Tries: Alofa Alof, Peter Betham, Israel Folau (2). Conversions: Bernard Foley (3). Penalties: Bernard Foley (2). 
Rebels – Try: Scott Higginbotham. Conversion: Bryce Hegarty.

Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Benn Robinson, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Pat McCutcheon, 25 Jonno Lance.

Rebels – 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Cruze Ah-Nau, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Male Sa'u, 23 Tom Kingston.

Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt