The Waratahs scored two tries to beat the Reds 23-5 in Brisbane on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
Tahs coach Michael Cheika will be pleased with the four log points but disappointed that his side, who were coming off a bye, couldn't get the bonus point against poor opposition.
The Reds looked like a team without a game plan and the final scoreline flattered them. Better finishing and fewer handlng errors would have seen the visitors reach 50.
In the end, this was another forgettable Australian derby.
Two penalties from three attempts from Bernard Foley gave the Waratahs a 6-0 lead after 23 minutes, before the flyhalf scored the first try of the game.
The Tahs were inside their half when Kurtley Beale spotted space out wide. The ball ended up with outside centre Matt Carraro, positioned on the right wing, and he took play up to the 22 before drawing the last defender and sending Foley away.
James O'Connor, who started the match at fullback having originally been named at flyhalf, then missed two penalty shots at goal, including one on the stroke of half-time after the Reds had come within 5m of the Tahs' tryline.
Foley's third penalty made it 16-0 after 50 minutes, before the Reds were given a much-needed boost when Tahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was yellow-carded for taking out a lineout jumper while he was in the air. That saw flanker Jacques Potgieter, who had made four handling errors in a disappointing performance, substituted for Tolu Latu.
But the Reds couldn't make their numerical advantage count over the next 10 minutes.
The Tahs should have scored when Rob Horne charged down Nick Frisby's kick and regathered possession, only for Nick Philipps to cough it up on the 22. Soon after, it was the Reds who lost the ball when on the attack, and Peter Betham punished them for it by running the ball out of his 22 and taking advantage of some poor defence by Frisby to score a try that put the result beyond doubt.
The crowd finally had something to cheer about when former Valke lock Marco Kotze scored a last-minute consolation try, but that changed to boos when O'Connor's conversion went wide.
Reds – Try: Marco Kotze.
Waratahs – Tries: Bernard Foley, Nick Frisby. Conversions: Foley (2). Penalties: Foley (3).
Reds – 15 James O’Connor, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Lachlan Turner, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Marco Kotze, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Tom Murday, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Campbell Magnay.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jaques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (c), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images