New South Wales Super Rugby franchise the Waratahs kept the pressure on the Brumbies by beating the Sunwolves 12-57 with a bonus point.
The result keeps the Waratahs level on 39 points with the Brumbies who continue to lead the Australian Conference on the number of victories.
The winning margin gives the Waratahs a preferential points difference over the Brumbies who have nine wins compared to the Waratahs 8.
The Waratahs outscored the Sunwolves by nine tries to none in the contest.
The nine-try spectacle saw the Tahs cross four times in the first half through Matt Lucas, Jack Dempsey, Israel Folau and Andrew Kellaway before backing up in the second half to score another five tries with Lucas’ second, a double to Reece Robinson, Matt Carraro and returning winger, Taqele Naiyaravoro.
The Tahs effectively kept the Sunwolves try-less, their 12 points coming all in the form of penalty kicks.
It was a huge team effort from the Waratahs who kicked off in scorching 30 plus degree heat. Both sides demonstrated their intent to attack early, showcasing some running rugby in the beginning moments of the match.
But it was the Tahs who took the first points with Matt Lucas keen to make his mark in his first run on since 2013. The scrumhalf dotted the ball down 10 minutes into the match after some brilliant support running from Super Rugby centurion, Rob Horne as well as Michael Hooper and Will Skelton in support.
Bernard Foley added the extras, handing the Waratahs an initial 7 – 0 lead.
Back in the starting side, Reece Robinson was keen to show off his speed on the sideline. Fullback Andrew Kellaway had a stunning game, teaming up nicely with Israel Folau to gain crucial metres.
The Sunwolves continued to threaten in attack. But despite making some good breaks towards the Tahs’ line, NSW remained strong in defence.
The home side managed to keep the pressure on the scoreboard, kicking three penalty goals, the third after Taqele Naiyaravoro was sent to the bin for a late charge and cynical play, bringing the home side ahead by 9-7.
Despite being down a man, it didn’t take long for the Tahs to cross for their second try through Jack Dempsey who, with his typically determined presence, made a strong break past the defence after being set up nicely by Israel Folau. Foley’s boot was spot on again to put the Tahs back in the lead by 14-9.
The Sunwolves turned it around to continue to strike at the Waratahs’ line. The visitors held up in the heat but the Sunwolves kept the scoreboard ticking over with another penalty kick after the Tahs were picked up for being offside.
The Tokyo men made an impressive turnover from the breakdown shortly after with just six minutes left to go before half time. But they were unable to capitalise and the Waratahs pounced, scoring their third after Folau collected a loose ball and found his way through the Sunwolves defence to cross under the posts.
The TMO had a look at a potential knock on, but vision showed the ball had come off Foley’s feet. He used them well again with his conversion attempt, making it three from three to stretch the Waratahs’ lead out to 21-12 five minutes before the half-time buzzer.
Kellaway was on fire, busting past three defenders moments later to seal the Waratahs’ fourth try of the game just before the siren sounded for half-time. The last minute five-pointer giving the Tahs a handy 26 – 12 lead after the first 40.
Replacements were called for in the second half with prop Angus Ta’avao replacing Tom Robertson, while Naiyaravoro was back after his 10 in the bin. Sam Lousi also came on for Captain, Michael Hooper.
The Tahs’ five tries in the second 40 began with a well-placed kick into touch from Foley. The team formed a rolling maul before the ball found its way along the Waratahs’ backline, who had been impressive all game. Reece Robinson came away with the prize, dotting it down in the corner.
Tatafu Polota-Nau made a huge impact for the Tahs, running a clean line straight into a gap before a great offload to Robinson, who was over for his double just moments later.
Backed up by two successful conversions from Foley, the Tahs pushed their lead out to 40 points to 12 less than 10 minutes into the second half.
Replacing Foley at flyhalf, David Horwitz complemented the Waratahs’ strong running and offload game, playing a hand in the Tahs’ next try after another powerful crack from Dempsey to send Lucas over for his second try. Horwitz struck the conversion well too to bring the Tahs’ lead out by 47-12.
Moments after entering the field as another handy replacement, Matt Carraro was over the tryline in similar fashion. Naiyaravoro then sealed the deal with the Waratahs’ ninth try after reserve halfback, Nick Phipps sent a ball his way from a maul. Despite a last gasp attempt after the siren, the Sunwolves were unable to cross for a try.
Next week the Waratahs host the Hurricanes in Sydney while the Sunwolves travel to South Africa where they will play the Bulls in Pretoria.
Final Score Sunwolves 12 (12) Waratahs 57 (26)
Pen – Y.Tamura 3, R.Viljoen
Tries – M.Lucas 2, J.Dempsey, I.Folau, A. Kellaway,R.Robinson 2, M.Carraro, T.Naiyaravoro
Con – B.Foley 5, D.Horwitz
Cards – T. Naiyaravoro (24th min yellow)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1:Aki Aso (Japan),
Assistant Ref 2:Noriaki Hashimoto (Japan)
TMO : Takashi Hareda (Japan)
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (c), 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Taiyo Ando, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami
Replacements: 16 Futoshi Mori, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Ryohei Yamanaka, 23 Hajime Yamashita
1. Paddy Ryan , 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 3. Tom Robertson , 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Will Skelton , 6. Jack Dempsey, 7. Michael Hooper (C), 8. Dave Dennis (VC), 9. Matt Lucas , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro , 12. Rob Horne, 13. Israel Folau , 14. Reece Robinson, 15. Andrew Kellaway.
Replacements : 16. Hugh Roach , 17. Jeremy Tilse , 18. Angus Ta’avao , 19. Sam Lousi, 20.Ned Hanigan 21. Nick Phipps , 22.David Horwitz , 23.Matt Carraro