The Waratahs clinched a 57-12 bonus-point victory over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
The five log points draw the Tahs level with the Brumbies on 39, although the latter remain top of the Australian conference as they have one more victory.
The Sunwolves made an efficient start to this match, but were unable to convert pressure into points.
The Waratahs took a while to get going, but once they did, they ran the Sunwolves ragged with 677m, 119 carries and 13 clean breaks resulting in nine tries.
After soaking up the early pressure, the visitors broke the deadlock when scrumhalf Matt Lucas scored after a delightful sequence of offloads between backs and forwards.
Yu Tamura, the Sunwolves flyhalf, kept the scoreboard ticking over with two penalties and when Taqele Naiyaravoro was given a debatable yellow card for a late tackle, Riaan Viljoen gave the hosts the lead with a sumptuous, long-distance penalty.
But the 14-man Waratahs struck two blows through Jack Dempsey, who benefited from Israel Folau’s tap-on pass, before Folau himself scooped up a loose ball, which bounced off a leg, and left three defenders in his wake to canter in. Tamura kicked another penalty, but a fourth try by Andrew Kellaway on the stroke of half-time made it 26-12.
The second half was a total blow-out, with the Waratahs scoring 31 unanswered points via five high-quality tries.
It all started with a brace by winger Reece Robinson, both of which were converted by Bernard Foley. Coach Daryl Gibson, confident that his side had done enough to wrap up the win, turned to his bench and those replacement players made their mark.
Lucas streaked in for his second try of the match and tries from Matt Carraro and Naiyaravoro completed the rout.
Sunwolves – Penalties: Yu Tamura (3), Riaan Viljoen.
Waratahs – Tries: Matt Lucas (2), Jack Dempsey, Israel Folau, Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson (2), Matt Carraro, Taqele Naiyaravoro. Conversions: Bernard Foley (5), David Horwitz.
Sunwolves – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (c), 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Taiyo Ando, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Subs: 16 Futoshi Mori, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Shokel Kin, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Ryohei Yamanaka, 23 Hajime Yamashita.
Waratahs – 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Subs: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro.