The Waratahs cemented their position at the top of the Australian conference with a 77-25 victory over a 14-man Sunwolves in Sydney on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
With Israel Folau, who scored twice, back in their XV the Waratahs simply demolished the Sunwolves, who caused the hosts problems in the first half by keeping the game loose.
It was the Sunwolves who took a shock lead through a Hayden Parker penalty before the flyhalf set up a runaway try to wing Akihito Yamada.
Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu grabbed a try back when he drove over the line but the Sunwolves kept the lead when Yamada put Michael Leitch through to score.
Folau marked his return from suspension by running a great line onto a flat pass from Beale to race through and score, before some good hands from Foley and Kepu allowed Beale to grab a try for himself.
The Waratahs looked all but set for the win when the Sunwolves were hit by a double blow when Foley set Folau up for his second and Semisi Masirewa was red-carded for a tip tackle on Foley in the build-up to the try.
Foley kicked a penalty early in the second half to keep the scoreboard ticking and the Waratahs grabbed another two tries through Ned Hanigan and Nick Phipps in the opening 10 minutes of the half.
The Sunwolves simply had no answer in the second half, with the hosts exploiting their man advantage ruthlessly. Taqele Naiyaravoro scored the Waratahs’ seventh after scooping up a loose Kepu pass and running over a Sunwolves defender.
The visitors kept fighting and managed a consolation score when Yamada showed his gas again to outrun Folau on the outside for his brace, but Curtis Rona dived over in the corner to bring up the Waratahs half-century.
Michael Wells also grabbed a try before Sunwolves substitute Fumiaki Tanaka was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. Naiyaravoro busted through for his second and Alex Newsome completed the demolition job with a couple of tries to bring up a record win for the home side.
Waratahs – Tries: Sekope Kepu, Israel Folau (2), Kurtley Beale, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Taqele Naiyaravoro (2), Curtis Rona, Michael Wells, Alex Newsome (2). Conversions: Bernard Foley (7). Penalty: Foley.
Sunwolves – Tries: Akihito Yamada (2), Michael Leitch. Conversions: Hayden Parker (2). Penalties: Parker (2).
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (c), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.
Sunwolves – 15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Yutaka Nagare (c), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar.
Subs: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura.
Photo: Peter Parks/Getty Images