Planet Rugby

Simple success for Waratahs

18th May 2014 08:51

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kurtley beale waratahs lions

All smiles: Kurtley Beale

The Waratahs cruised to back-to-back wins in Super Rugby and closed in on the Brumbies with a 41-13 win over the Lions in Sydney.

In the end the hosts ran in five tries, with Bernard Foley standing out with an accomplished performance at fly-half to give Australia coach Ewen McKenzie food for thought.

Refreshed from their bye week and with other results going their way this week, Round 14 has gone very well for the Waratahs.

Their five-point haul here puts them just one point behind the Brumbies at the top of the Australian Conference before facing the Rebels next Friday after a short five day turnaround.

The Lions were tenacious as ever from the start but despite their dominant scrum couldn't handle the Waratahs in defence, with a one-two punch of tries within ten minutes after half-time dictating the outcome.

Little time was wasted getting the Waratahs into scoring range, but a popped pass out the back from Michael Hooper to Rob Horne went forward with the line at the winger's mercy.

Their early territory and possession though did end with a try for Bernard Foley, the fly-half who must be in contention to start for Australia against France with Quade Cooper sidelined.

Foley cut inside attacking the line and reached out to score, adding the conversion to put the hosts up 7-0.

The Lions though are no pushovers. Shortly after Foley's score they positioned themselves in the corner and through a well-worked, unstoppable maul powered their way over with Jaco Kriel at the bottom of the pile to touch down.

Foley and Boshoff traded penalties, with the Lions scrum getting the better of Paddy Ryan to cause some concern for the home fans with the scores level at 10-10 after 20 minutes.

With Foley dictating play though the 'Tahs were never far away from a second try. After good carries from their power runners, a five-metre scrum saw the fly-half cut across the pitch and thread through an ideal grubber kick for Kurtley Beale to gather and score.

The home side's indiscipline however was a concern, as Boshoff knocked over a second penalty. An attempt a minute later from the halfway line was expected to go over given how Boshoff had hit the crossbar earlier with a 50-metre drop goal attempt, but his effort surprisingly dropped short.

Sensing that the Waratahs were feeling the pressure the Lions upped their tempo before half-time.

Boshoff's high hoist caused confusion in the ranks of the defence as Beale was forced into touch five metres out, and from the resulting maul the Lions were licking their lips at the prospect of replicating Kriel's earlier try. It wasn't to be this time as the Waratahs cleared, but the danger of an upset was present.

They eased that concern thanks to Rob Horne's try at the start of the second half, the winger cutting in on the angle off his wing and breezing past Chrysander Botha to touch down.

When Adam Ashley-Cooper went over a few minutes later after winning the race to catch Beale's well executed chip over the top, the bonus point was secured by the home side and the match felt settled at 31-13.

They could have had more, an inspirational try-saving tackle from Warren Whiteley stopping Horne from grabbing a second as he looked to be clear for the line.

Work on the lineout will no doubt be on Michael Cheika's schedule after Tatafu Polota-Nau's radar was way off, with three lineouts going not straight. The Rebels might not be so lenient at letting the Wallaby hooker off in Melbourne next week.

Still, it had no effect on the result here. Hugh Roach made his debut off the bench as did Taqele Naiyaravoro, with the Waratahs looking to rest key bodies before Round 15.

The Lions to their credit never gave up, but they couldn't match their effort levels with execution as the knock-ons mounted up towards the death.

Folau may not have broken Peter Hewat's ten-try Waratahs' season record this time, but he produced a fine assist after breaking the line to set up Horne for his second try and bring up the 40 points.

Job done for the Waratahs, who have better performances to come with the playoffs in sight after having this one wrapped up before the hour mark.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Foley, Beale, Horne 2, Ashley-Cooper
Cons: Foley 5
Pens: Foley 2

For Lions:
Try: Kriel
Con: Boshoff
Pens: Boshoff 2
Yellow Card: Van Rensburg

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Alofa Alofa, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 JW Jonker, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6.Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Rudi Mathee, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Anthony Volmink

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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