The Waratahs recorded a 38-28 victory against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Desperate to prove last week's shock defeat to the Force was an aberration, and not a trend, the Waratahs took control of this match from the outset, before allowing the Rebels back into the contest with some dubious defending.
The Rebels outscored their visitors by two tries to one in that first half, with Scott Higginbotham and Lopeti Timani dotting down, but Stephen Hoiles' five-pointer and penalties by Bernard Foley (two), and Kurtley Beale, gave the Waratahs a deserved 16-14 advantage at the break.
Converted tries from Teqele Naiyaravoro and Luke Burgess saw the visitors leading 23-21 after 55 minutes, before Naiyaravaro scored his second.
But a moment of madness from the Waratahs winger – he was sin-binned for slapping the ball into touch, which prevented the Rebels from scoring – would cost his side.
Keeping in mind the space out wide created by Naiyaravaro's absence, the Rebels called a scrum and Sefanaia Naivalu burrowed over for their bonus-point score. Mike Harris added his fourth conversion to make it 28-28.
A turnover deep inside Waratahs territory led to a Foley break, with his neat pop pass finding Beale, who ran in for the bonus-point try.
Foley kicked the conversion and added a penalty, as the Tahs secured their first Vodacom Super Rugby log points of the season.
Rebels – Tries: Scott Higginbotham, Lopeti Timani, Luke Burgess, Sefanaia Naivalu. Conversions: Mike Harris (4).
Waratahs – Tries: Stephen Hoiles, Taqele Naiyaravaro (2), Kurtley Beale. Conversions: Bernard Foley (3). Penalties: Foley (3), Kurtley Beale.
Rebels – 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravaro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jaques Potgieter, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis (c), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Patrick McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Peter Betham.
Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images