Waratahs dominate in six-try display
May 23, 2014
Both sides were hitting hard in the physical local derby
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The NSW Waratahs showed they intend being a Super Rugby finals force after putting the Melbourne Rebels to the sword 41-19 at AAMI Park. The Waratahs left Melbourne with a valuable bonus point after scoring six tries, with a backline containing too much strikepower for the home side.
Goal-kickers Foley and Beale both had rare off nights with the boot, leaving 16 points on the field, but it didn't matter in the end as they booked their first win on the road in Australia this season.
The Waratahs opened the scoring with a penalty shot by Foley, who then set up their first try with a beautifully worked set move. He used a dummy switch to wrong-foot the defence and then off-loaded to in-form winger Horne who carved through the defence. Two penalties by Rebels fullback Jason Woodward closed the gap to 8-6 and then in the 24th minute the hard-working home side hit lead as he slotted a third.
However it was short-lived with Foley lining up another three-pointer after an infringement at the ruck by the Rebels. Beale popped a lovely ball to Ashley-Cooper just before halftime that allowed the visitors to take a 16-9 lead to the sheds. Melbourne's cause wasn't helped by losing hooker Pat Leafa to a yellow card after the halftime hooter for hands in the ruck.
The Rebels' outstanding defence kept them in the match but with big bodies such as uncapped Wallaby Will Skelton entering the fray the Waratahs started to dominate the breakdown and put Melbourne on the back foot. The cracks opened up with flanker Michael Hooper grabbing the ball from the back of the scrum to scoot across the line.
The Waratahs were too strong for the Rebels, crossing over for six tries (Available in Australia Only)
Rebels winger Telusa Veainu picked up a loose ball and dashed 80 metres to touch down in the 60th minute but the rest of the half was one-way traffic. Folau's try, in the 71st minute, was his 10th for the season equalling a 2005 record set by Peter Hewitt.
NSW coach Michael Cheika described his team's performance as "very satisfying" and was delighted with the way they kept hammering the Rebels until they opened the floodgates.
"We didn't have lots of highs and lows we just kept coming over 80 minutes and I was very pleased with that attitude," he said. "I would have liked to have kicked a few more goals which would have made it more comfortable. We had the dropsies there but we were good enough to keep playing our game and get a few more tries."
The Rebels struggled to overcome the late withdrawal of centre Tamati Ellison, which disrupted their midfield and left them with a hugely inexperienced backline. Coach Tony McGahan said the Waratahs had too much depth, while his side didn't help themselves missing too many first-up tackles.
They finished the match with only 30 per cent of possession which didn't help their cause. While happy his team was still in the match at 24-19 after 63 minutes he was disappointed they didn't manage to put any pressure on the opposition after that.
"They're a finals side; the way they played and the depth they have in their squad now," McGahan said. "We were certainly off ... we suffered from a bit of fatigue and some guys didn't aim up but I thought they were very physical. You can't play a power side like that and be tackling all night because you're going to come up short."