Planet Rugby

Folau secures 'Tahs bonus win

21st March 2014 10:31

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The Waratahs put a disjointed first half behind them to secure a bonus point 32-8 win over the Rebels, as Israel Folau scored a double.

Last week's loss away to the Brumbies proved to be just a speed bump for Michael Chieka's team, who toiled initially against a dogged Rebels outfit.

The visitors just lack the star quality possessed in Sydney, with Kurtley Beale and Folau producing star turns on the back of hard work upfront from the likes of Jacques Potgeiter and Dave Dennis.

The Waratahs just had that extra bit of stardust to not get sucked into a battle at the breakdown.

The first half was a tale of frustration for the hosts, who were widely expected to win at a canter but unable to execute the final pass when it mattered in the Rebels half.

Alofa Alofa did score in the opening five minutes and it seemed initially as if that would set the tone.

The odd butchered pass just delayed what felt like an inevitable handful of tries, which the Waratahs eventually did deliver in the second half.

It says plenty about the Rebels confidence levels that despite only trailing by five points they opted to go for the corner rather than the posts just before the half hour mark, with captain Scott Higginbotham eventually crashing over.

Higginbotham was fiery without with both his play and words, which put him on the wrong side of referee Jaco Peyper.

Bryce Hegarty couldn't afford to leave points out on the field, but he missed a penalty and the conversion of Higginbotham's score.

Eventually the Waratahs had to score again, despite the Rebels holding their own defensively and even winning penalties at the scrum. But it was scrappy, typical of an Australian derby, with the Waratahs only leading 11-8 at half-time.

Peter Betham gave the home side a healthier advantage with a try shortly after the break with a simple score off the lineout, picking the perfect line to go over in the corner.

It was only five minutes until the next one, but Benn Robinson was denied in the interim of a try of his own following a knock-on in the build-up to his short-range drive by the posts.

Israel Folau - who else - then bagged his seventh try of the season by cutting back on the angle to take an excellent pass from Beale and run under the sticks. 25-6 up with half an hour to go, it gave the Waratahs ample time to try and secure the try bonus point.

They made hard work of it, unable to capitalise on a numerical advantage when Rebels fly-half Angus Roberts was sin-binned for throwing the ball away.

What had previously felt like an age to get the try bonus point was now a race against time for Folau and co, entering the final ten minutes bogged down deep in their own half.

Beale, who had been excellent all night, wrapped up the five points by slicing through a gap up the middle of the Rebels defence, slowing down to draw the last man and release Folau under the sticks for his second.

That's eight tries now for Folau in four matches, with the Super Rugby season record held by Joe Roff and Rico Gear standing at 15. At this rate, he will break it with ease.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Alofa, Betham, Folau 2
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 2

For Rebels:
Try: Higginbotham
Pen: Hegarty
Yellow Card: Roberts

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Benn Robinson, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Pat McCutcheon, 25 Jonno Lance.

Rebels: 15 Angus Roberts, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Cruze Ah-Nau, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Male Sa'u, 23 Tom Kingston.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

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