The Waratahs keep on rolling towards the play-offs following their 41-19 triumph over the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
It was yet another bonus-point win for the visitors, their third on the trot, as they leapfrogged the Brumbies at the top of the Australian conference.
While they remain a solid front row away from being true title contenders, their backline showed they have the ability to cause any team problems on their day.
It was that backline that started things off, with Rob Horne powering through a gap following an inside switch from Bernard Foley to give the Tahs an 8-0 lead after 12 minutes.
The Rebels, for all their territory and possession, never really threatened the Waratahs line, although they remained within touching distance, thanks to the boot of Jason Woodward.
Adam Ashley-Cooper then struck just before half-time, following another deft little offload, this time from Kurtley Beale.
Foley, who experienced a rare off day with the boot, then had a chance to extend the lead after the hooter following a yellow card to Pat Leafa, but missed from in front as the Tahs led 16-9.
Woodward and Foley exchanged penalties early in the second half before Michael Hooper grabbed a try after a tighthead. The Rebels hit back with a try of their own after Telusa Veainu pounced on a loose pass from Israel Folau to run it in from 80m.
Kurtley Beale was on hand to wrap up the bonus point, before two late efforts from Israel Folau and replacement scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin added some gloss to the scoreline.
Rebels – Try: Telusa Veainu. Conversion: Jason Woodward. Penalties: Woodward (4).
Waratahs – Tries: Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Brendan McKibbin. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalties: Foley (3).
Rebels – 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Lalakai Foketi.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro.
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images