The Waratahs answered their critics with a brilliant display of running rugby, scoring eleven tries past the toothless Lions to record a comprehensive 73-12 Super 14 win in Sydney on Friday.
Wing Drew Mitchell set the Sydney Football Stadium alight by crossing the whitewash four times - a Waratahs' record - while Lachie Turner and Josh Holmes bagged a brace each to post their third win of the season.
The Waratahs, so often criticised for their conservative playing style had a four-try bonus point before half-time, leading 33-5 at the break, and the romp continued in the second half with the hosts running out big winners.
It was the first time the Waratahs had scored eleven tries in one Super Rugby match as they condemned the Lions to their fifth straight defeat in the tournament. Centre Berrick Barnes converted nine of the Waratahs tries while wing Tonderai Chavhanga and prop JC Janse van Rensburg scored the Lions five-pointers.
The Lions conceded 72 points against the Chiefs in Round Two of the Super 14 and this result makes them the first team to break the 200-point mark of points scored against them for an average of 45.6 points conceded per match.
The visitors have successfully brought other teams - such as the Brumbies - down to their level, but the Waratahs kept their structure and were buoyed by the Lions' mistakes as they looked to counter-attack time after time from deep.
Barnes, opting against three-pointers, also drove the Lions back with some lengthy touch-finders that would more often than not be rewarded with another try to the home side.
Mitchell got the ball rolling with the game's opening try following a quick-tap penalty in the sixth minute, before gifting Chavhanga a five-pointer after he failed to ground a kick in his in-goal area.
The Waratahs responded immediately with lock Dean Mumm intercepting a chip kick from Lions pivot Carlos Spencer and running almost 40 metres for his team's second try.
Mumm, hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and prop Benn Robinson all featured in the build-up to the third try scored by centre Tom Carter who was denied only a few minutes earlier.
The try-scoring bonus point was chalked up on the half hour mark when wing Turner crossed following a break by number eight Wycliff Palu and a kick from fly-half Daniel Halangahu.
Mitchell, who beat three defenders in another sensational run, added the fifth try following a line-out from a penalty kick into touch by Barnes. The Lions were intent on running, but clearly lacked confidence, as Spencer and Earl Rose hacked away possession aimlessly.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Palu opening proceedings after he took a cross-field kick from Barnes on the bounce. Mitchell scored the next two five-pointers - one from a 60-metre run - before replacement prop JP Janse van Rensburg crossed for the Lions.
The hosts piled on three tries in the last ten minutes, two to replacement scrum-half Holmes and one to Turner to end off a fine day at the office.
Man of the match: The Waratahs' rampage was set up by strong forward work by skipper Phil Waugh, making a record 119th appearance, and fellow flanker Dave Dennis along with locks Dean Mumm and Kane Douglas. Barnes played his best match yet in the blue jersey, but it was Drew Mitchell that terrorised the Lions all night by frequently slicing through their defence and also pulled off some strong tackles. Oh, did we mention he scored four tries?
Tries: Mitchell 4, Mumm, Turner 2 , Palu, Carter, Holmes 2
Cons: Barnes 9
Tries: Chavhanga, Janse van Rensburg
Waratahs: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Tom Carter, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Luke Burgess; 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Will Caldwell, 19 Ben Mowen, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kurtley Beale, 22 Rob Horne.
Lions: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Walter Venter, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Todd Clever, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (c), 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Charles Emslie, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Jacques Lombaard, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Wigan Pekeur.
Referee: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)