New South Wales cruised to a 50-23 victory over the Rebels in an entertaining Australian derby at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
The Waratahs ran in eight tries, with Israel Folau grabbing a brace, and his 43rd Super Rugby try, to help his side win their second game in the past six.
The fullback was electric, setting up three tries in a scintillating No 15 performance, setting up the home team’s eleventh win over the Rebels in 13 encounters.
The Melbourne side scored three times, twice through Jonah Placid, but they could not hang on after dominating the first-half, where they led and had control.
Bernard Foley kicked five conversions, Michael Hooper scored a try and won man-of-the-match, but it was Folau who stole the show.
The Rebels led 7-11 early on, and brought the game to within six, twice, at 24-19 and 29-23, late on.
But, they wilted as the home team ran away in the last quarter and racked up a half century, scoring three tries in the last 12 minutes.
Nick Phipps opened the scoring for the Tahs. The scrumhalf collected Foley’s pass after the standoff made a break, after Tom Robertson’s storming run, Foley threw a dummy and sent the No 9 away.
Sandwiching Phipps’ try and Foley’s conversion, was two Ben Volavola’s two penalties as the Rebels put their hosts under huge pressure.
The Waratahs conceded seven penalties inside the opening 18 minutes to zero from their opponents and had Tolu Latu sent to the sin-bin.
From the next phase, Amanaki Mafi crashed over to give his team a four-point lead; Volavola missed the conversion, his second kick after missing an earlier penalty, or the lead could have been more.
Then, on the half-hour, the Waratahs found their groove. Dean Mumm scored to make it 12-11.
The lock barged down the sideline after Hooper’s initial break. The forwards set up some quick ball and sent it through five pairs of hands before Mumm crashes over.
A replay showed that referee Angus Gardner missed a forward pass in the build-up from the home team’s skipper. Foley could not add the extras.
Next, Ned Hanigan, who was superb, scoring the Waratahs’ thrid try. His side came straight back down, and after some sustained pressure, and quick ball, Foley passed to the right and the flanker ran in to score.
The Wallaby standoff made no mistake this time and his team had a 19-11 buffer.
On the stroke of half-time, Folau got in on the act. Taqele Naiyaravoro made the initial break, running over two defenders and shrugging off another.
The winger popped to the 28-year-old on his outside, who was running a good support line, for his sixth try of the season, to open up a 13 point gap between the two teams.
The game restarted with Foley getting sent to the side-line for a deliberate knock-down. The cynical play cost the Tahs a try, as Placid crossed for his first of the all-Aussie affair.
Volavola’s conversion brought the scores to within six at 24-18.
The comeback was halted immediately after Folau capped off a good passing play by his team-mate’s, on 53 minutes.
The Rebels would not give-in. Mafi, having a great game, made the break, charging through the ruck with no defenders in sight.
The recycled ball was sent wide, with some smart hands, and Placid roled over the whitewash for his second try in 11 minutes. It was Folau v Placid.
The kick was missed, but the gap was back to six points, going into the final quarter.
Tony McGahan would have hoped his team could finish strong, however, they folded, as Hooper, Bryce Hegarty and Damien Fitzpatrick, all scored, turning a close game into a rout.
The captain’s try came from some more Folau inspiration. Hooper combined with Foley, who was back on the field, to make it 36-23.
Next, Hanigan barged over, through three defenders, to set-up the Fitzpatrick’s score. Foley’s fourth conversion put the game to bed at 43-23 and only five minutes remaining.
Daryl Gibson’s men were not yet done. From a lineout on halfway, the Waratahs went wide.
Folau joined the back-line and ghosted through another hole, danced and passed to Bryce Hegarty, who ran away untouched.
Foley provided the final insult, bringing up the half century and completing the derby-day demolition.
Final score: Waratahs 50 (24) Rebels 23 (11)
Tries – Phipps, Mumm, Hanigan, Folau (2), Hooper, Fitzpatrick, Hegarty
Con – Foley (5)
Cards – Latu (Yellow, 17th minute)
Tries – Mafi, Placid (2)
Pen – Volavola (2)
Con – Volavola
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2: Amy Perrett
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Irae Simone.
15 Ben Volavola, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge (c), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Jonah Placid