The Waratahs brushed aside the Reds 34-3 in an ill-tempered derby in Brisbane. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
The scoreboard was a tad harsh on the valiant Reds who dominated both possession and territory, but it was the Waratahs who showed their cutting-edge to seal a comfortable victory. There were elements of their game that will need to be addressed before they resume their challenge in a fortnight, as their lineout struggled and their scrum came under pressure, especially in the first half. A better team should be able to capitalise on these faults in a way which the Reds simply weren't able to in Brisbane.
The Waratahs had Kurtley Beale to thank for the size of their victory, with the mercurial playmaker in imperious form on the night. The Reds afforded him way too much time and space early on and they were duly punished as he danced through their defence to set up Jono Lance for the opener. He followed that up with a try of his own, rounding off a sweeping Waratahs move that has been a trademark of this side throughout the season.
The Reds showed plenty of endeavour in the first half, but were unable to breach the Tahs defence, even after the visitors went down to 14 men when Sekope Kefu saw yellow for a punch. A solitary Mike Harris penalty was all they had to show for their efforts.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with the Reds enjoying the lion's share of possession but a raft of errors halted their charge.
The Waratahs grabbed their third try, and Beale's second, midway through the second half in a move started and finished by the inside centre. Nick Phipps wrapped up the bonus point with a late try as the Waratahs rounded off the regular season in the best possible manner.
Reds – Penalty: Mike Harris.
Waratahs – Tries: Jono Lance, Kurtley Beale (2), Nick Phipps. Conversions: Bernard Foley (4). Penalties: Foley (2).
Reds – 15 Mike Harris, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Scott Gale, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Albert Anae, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Sam Johnson, 22 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 23 Chris Kuridrani.
Waratahs – 15 Jono Lance, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Stephen Hoiles , 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Michael Ala'alatoa, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images