The Waratahs beat the Blues 23-11 in a scrappy match in Sydney on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
The four log points take the defending champions to within two of the Brumbies, who are at the top of the Australian conference. The Blues remain rooted to the bottom of the combined log having lost all six of their matches this season.
The Tahs will be pleased with the win but a bit disappointed that they were only able to score two tries, despite putting themselves in a position to get over the line on several occassions.
That poor finishing looked set to cost them when the Blues took the lead with a second-half try, but Bernard Foley's boot, and a late try against 14 men, took the Waratahs home.
The Tahs started the match well, with Michael Hooper breaking the line and giving the try-scoring inside pass to Nick Phipps, who dived under the posts.
Dan Bowden got the Blues on the board with a penalty, before Taqele Naiyaravoro had a try disallowed for the Tahs when the TMO spotted a knock-on in the buildup.
Bowden's second penalty made it 7-6 after 23 minutes, but the flyhalf would miss his next attempt, from a difficult angle.
The Tahs botched another try-scoring opportunity when a six-phase attack ended with a knock-on close to the Blues' line. They then twice won a penalty at scrum time, twice opted to scrum again, and lost the ball when they failed to use it after being told to do so by referee Jaco Peyper.
The hosts dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Foley missed a shot at goal and Jacques Potgieter knocked on after another promising attack.
The Tahs then allowed a Blues kick to bounce, and the visitors regained possession. Keven Mealamu got play up to the 22, and the Blues then went wide, with Charles Piutau cutting back inside and putting Francis Saili over for a try that made it 11-7 after 53 minutes.
They weren't in front for long, though, as Foley kicked three penalties to give his side a five-point lead.
With eight minutes to go, Blues captain Jerome Kaino was harshly sin-binned for a high tackle. Beale's long-range penalty attempt fell well short, but it didn't matter as Peter Betham's try soon after put the result beyond doubt.
Waratahs – Tries: Nick Phipps, Peter Betham. Conversions: Bernard Foley (2). Penalties: Foley (3).
Blues – Try: Francis Saili. Penalties: Dan Bowden (2).
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (c), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephen Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Peter Betham.
Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (c), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Pita Ahki.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images