Waratahs power into pole position

The Waratahs beat the Brumbies 39-8 in Sydney on Saturday to move into first place on the combined Vodacom Super Rugby log, writes JON CARDINELLI.

With this result, the Waratahs have surpassed the Sharks at the top of the table. While both of these teams have won 10 of their 14 matches, it is the Waratahs who have obtained more bonus points over the course of the season.

The Waratahs are edging closer towards the Australian conference title. They were a cut above their biggest rivals, the Brumbies, in Sydney on Saturday. It would be a surprise if they did not go on to win the conference and secure their place in the top three.

The Brumbies battled to cope with the Waratahs' physicality in Saturday's derby. They enjoyed limited success at the breakdown, and their defence eventually folded in the 16th minute when Waratahs prop Benn Robinson rounded off a multi-phase assault.

Moments later, the Waratahs scored their second, this time against the run of play. Winger Alofa Alofa intercepted a Brumbies pass, and raced 70m to score.

Matt Toomua's cross-kick in the 30th minute was expertly fielded by Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg, who dotted down to bring the visitors back into the game. It was an important strike, but not one that would initiate a shift in momentum.

The Waratahs continued to dominate after the break. The Brumbies eventually paid for repeated breakdown infringements, as Fotu Auelia was shown a yellow card in the 60th minute.

The Waratahs punished the 14-man Brumbies during the period of sanction, with Foley and Alofa scoring tries. The latter not only secured the result, but a valuable bonus point too.

Waratahs – Tries: Benn Robinson, Alofa Alofa (2), Bernard Foley, Wycliff Palu. Conversions: Foley (4). Penalties: Foley, Kurtley Beale.
Brumbies – Try: Jesse Mogg. Penalty: Christian Lealiifano.

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, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Leon Power, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Ruaidhrí Murphy, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Jack Whetton, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Clyde Rathbone, 23 Lionel Cronjé.

Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli