The Waratahs moved temporarily top of the Australian conference after beating a poor Rebels side 30-21 in Sydney on Saturday.
The Waratahs moved temporarily top of Australia's conference after beating the out-of-form Rebels 30-21 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday.
Victory lifts Michael Foley's side to the Aussie summit, which means they occupy a position in the top three of Super Rugby's overall standings.
It wasn't pretty, as is the Waratahs' style, but they were effective enough to score three tries on the day and came mighty close to claiming a fourth.
Bernard Foley, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Rob Horne crossed for the home side while the Rebels' try-scorers were Ged Robinson, Tim Davidson and Lachlan Mitchell. However, the boot of Brendan McKibbin ultimately proved to be the difference.
It took the 'Tahs just 26 seconds to open matters when a lovely, flowing move that involved Tom Carter and Adam Ashley-Cooper allowed Foley to go in for what proved to be false excitement over where the fixture as a spectacle was going.
Following the conversion from McKibbin, the scrum-half then added two penalties as the Waratahs took control and made it 13-0
Then finally the Rebels had something to cling to as hooker Robinson crashed over for a converted score before McKibbin replied from the kicking tee to make it 16-7. And that proved the half-time scoreline in what was a fair reflection of how things had transpired.
The Waratahs started the second-half how they did the first when a clever line-out move saw Polota-Nau crash over in the corner with 46 minutes gone. McKibbin added the two points to keep the 'Tahs' visitors struggling to keep in touch as they lacked any real creativity.
It got worse for the Rebels though when Horne crashed over from close range after a nice slip-ball from McKibbin. The latter's conversion extended it 30-7 close to the hour mark.
But then Horne was yellow-carded for a tip-tackle on Kurtley Beale and the Rebels made him pay when using their numerical advantage to good effect, with Davidson going in. Beale added the kick before setting up Mitchell for a try that almost set up a frantic finish. It proved not to be for the Rebels though while the 'Tahs also fell short in their race for a try bonus.
Tries: Foley, Polota-Nau, Horne
Con: McKibbin 3
Pen: McKibbin 3
Tries: Robinson, Davidson, Mitchell
Con: O'Connor, Beale, Huxley
Waratahs: 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (c).
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Sarel Pretorius, 20 Rocky Elsom, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Daniel Halangahu.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Lloyd Johansson, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Mark Gerrard, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 Julian Huxley, 22 Cooper Vuna.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)