The Waratahs welcomed the Rebels to Super Rugby with a 43-0 victory over their Australian rivals at AAMI Stadium on Friday.
The Waratahs welcomed the Melbourne Rebels to Super Rugby with a 43-0 victory over their Australian rivals at AAMI Stadium on Friday.
It was the worst possible start for the tournament newcomers as the men from Sydney kept their hosts scoreless after running in a whopping seven tries.
The Rebels made a promising start, and had everyone fooled that they would be no push-overs after making a real fist of it in the opening quarter of the match. Though it only proved to be a smoke screen from what lay ahead.
The historic match was fueled with plenty of nerves and tension from the players on the pitch, and a bust-up between Dean Mumm and Kevin O'Neill ended up with both locks in the bin early on. It had no effect on the match though as both sides failed to post any points passed each other whilst down to 14 men.
In fact it took a good 25 minutes for the first points of the match to arrive and it was certainly worth the wait. With the Waratahs on a rare attack inside the Rebels' 22, Phil Waugh sucked in several tacklers before the ball was spread quickly through the hands and wide to Kurtley Beale who finished off superbly in the corner.
Berrick Barnes was unable to add the touchline conversion, but the visitors were at least on the board.
Barnes was also unsuccessful with a cheeky drop-goal attempt moments later, however had better luck with his cross-field kick and chase for Drew Mitchell as the Wallaby winger read it beautifuly to continue his try-scoring escapades with a five-pointer in the same corner Beale visited five minutes earlier.
That was it for the first half – the Waratahs leading 10-0.
It was the perfect start and the worst start for the Waratahs and Rebels respectively after the break. The Rebels were reduced to fourteen men once again, following hooker Ged Robinson's yellow card for slowing down the ball. Referee Craig Joubert was right on the spot and went straight for the pocket.
The result was another try for the Waratahs as hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau touched down under a pile of blue jerseys – again, Joubert was right on the spot and didn't require the assistance of the TMO.
Barnes' nightmare with the kicking tee continued as another conversion attempt drifted wide, but it mattered not with his team 15 points up and with an extra man to boot (pardon the pun).
The fourth try and all-important bonus point arrived just a minute later after that man Mitchell was over for his second under the posts thanks to a break-out from Luke Burgess. It got worse for the Rebels as Barnes finally found his target to add the extra two points for a 22-0 lead.
Beale wasn't impressed with only one try in the match and was over for his brace in the 52nd minute, after the Rebels' defence was once again stretched to its limit. Barnes kicked a well-struck touchline conversion and at that stage of the game (29-0), it was game over.
Centre Rob Horne added his name to the scoresheet with a try in the corner – Barnes' unselfishly putting his team-mate over and then converting once again from far out. The Waratahs saved their biggest celebration for their seventh and last try of the evening when Waugh came up with the spoils from a driving maul.
Beale got some kicking practice in with the conversion and even though the Rebels pushed hard for a consolation effort, it just never came.
Maximum points for the 'Tahs, zero for the Rebels.
Tries: Beale 2, Mitchell 2, Polota-Nau, Horne, Waugh
Cons: Barnes 3, Beale
Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Cooper Vuna, 11 Luke Rooney, 10 James Hilgendorf, 9 Sam Cordingley, 8 Gareth Delve (vc), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Hoani Macdonald, 5 Kevin O'Neill, 4 Adam Byrnes, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Danny Cipriani, 22 Afusipa Taumoepeau.
Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell , 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Phil Waugh(c), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Daniel Halangahu , 22 Ryan Cross.