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Waratahs smash sorry Sunwolves

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The Waratahs thrashed the Sunwolves 77-25 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, and finish top of the Australian Conference with a game to spare.

New South Wales scored a record 12 tries, coming from 7-13 and 12-18 down inside half-an-hour, to record their most points in a Super Rugby match.

Israel Folau, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Alex Newsome, off the bench, all bagged a brace in the rout.

Naiyaravoro’s two tries take his tally to 14 for the campaign, passing Folau’s 2014 season record of 12.

Bernard Foley also became the 10th player to score 900 Super Rugby points.

Akihito Yamada scored twice for the Japanese, but it was inconsequential because the game was ruined when Semisi Masirewa was red-carded in the 39th-minute.

He was, rightly, sent-off for a dangerous tackle on Foley with the game in the balance at 24-18.

The Tahs then ran riot in the second half, scoring tries at will as the depleted Sunwolves wilted, losing heart and slipping tackles as the Waratahs wracked up over 20 line-breaks.

The Sunwolves played a period of the match with 13 men after Fumiaki Tanaka’s 70th-minute yellow card for a neck-role tackle on Jake Gordon.

With the game already over, the Waratahs put their foot on their opponent’s throats in ruthless fashion.

Nayiaravoro got his double and Newsome scored twice in the final four minutes, completing the humiliation.

Should the Tahs win next weekend, they will finish second on the Super Rugby log and have a home semi-final.

Tight opening 30 minutes as the teams went tit for tat.

The match was played at a high tempo as both teams looked to take an early grip on proceedings.

Sekope Kepu crashed over from short range to put his side 7-3 up after Hayden Parker’s penalty.

It came from a strong run by Jed Holloway. Foley put a long, looping pass to Will Miller, who was tackled short before the ball was recycled for Kepu.

Parker reduced the deficit to one with his record 37th consecutive successful kick.

Yamada gathered Jason Emery’s kick after a huge hit on a Tahs player won the turnover, and raced away for the score, stunning the home crowd.

Damien Fitzpatrick, not helped with a dislocated finger, was missing his jumpers and the Tahs were turning the ball over.

They stayed in the contest because of the excellent work being done at the breakdown by Miller and Michael Wells.

It was end-to-end.

One poor lineout led to Folau’s first.

Kurtley Beale, who was magnificent, threw a double skip-pass to Folau, who took the ball flat and raced away to the corner untouched. It was his ninth try in seven matches at the Allianz.

Then, the bus is full. Michael Leitch handed off Ned Hanigan to extend the Japanese lead to six.

Parker put Yamada in a hole and the winger drew a defender before passing to Leitch, who disposed of Hanigan.

Another poor Fitzpatrick throw, inadvertently, led to another try.

Nick Phipps, sharp in open play throughout, and Kepu combined to set-up Beale’s first score at the Allianz in four years.

More good work from Miller at the breakdown won his side a penalty. Then it was Folau at the double.

Naiyaravoro threw another dodgy pass, but it landed in the hands of a team-mate. The Tahs go wide.

Foley was driven into the turf by Masirewa before putting the fullback away. Kepu, having a game for the ages was involved again with a wrap-around pass with Foley.

Masirewa madness.

Following the try, referee Federico Anselmi and TMO Damien Mitchelmore agreed that, on review, Masirewa was guilty of foul play, and he received his marching orders: game over.

It was an act of self-harm, a moment of madness, more akin to harakiri, and it was the game changer, proving costly and killing the Sunwolves’ chances of an upset win.

The Waratahs used their extra man advantage, expertly.

Foley kicked an early second-half penalty to extend the lead to nine, then the floodgates opened.

Folau was running riot, wracking up linebreak after linebreak, slipping tackles and busting through gaps.

Kepu, Foley, Hanigan, Beale and Phipps’ support play was sensational.

Every time the Tahs touched the ball, they seemed to score.

Rob Simmons burst through a hole, Phipps, who sent the lock away, followed and was put away under the sticks for his 20th Super Rugby try.

It was time for Naiyaravoro to get in on the act. After a dodgy first-half, where his judgment was questionable, the big man turned on the style.

He broke Ryoto Nakamura’s weak tackle and strolled in for his first.

The Sunwolves were struggling; all the action and heat was coming down the touchline as the opposition pulled them all over the park.

The visitors did hit back soon after. Yamada put on the burners, goose-stepped Folau before rounding him for a stunning try.

At 46-25, the Sunwolves might have hoped for more opportunities. With the Waratahs so far ahead, they might have stopped playing, allowing their guests a sniff of a comeback.

It did not happen, instead, the hosts put their foot down and accelerated, leaving their opponents vanquished.

Beale and Hanigan were again involved in the build-up to the next score, setting up Curtis Rona’s five-pointer.

Rona dotted down in the corner after Phipps’ pop-over-the-top pass, took out two defenders for the centre to cruise in and bring up the half-century.

Coach Daryl Gibson was looking for a clinical display, and he got it. His chargers never slowed down.

This time, Rona turned provider, setting up Wells for the ninth try. Foley made it 60-25 with another successful kick.

The wheels came off with ten minutes to play.

Tanaka was yellow carded for a neck-role – that looked more like a ‘Regal Plex’ from the WWE -on Gordon.

If the Sunwolves were out on their feet already, they were dead and buried with a two-man disadvantage.

The Tahs were using the wings expertly, finding space and punishing some tired legs.

Naiyaravoro celebrated his second with a kiss of the ball after slipping tackles near the right-hand touchline.

Then Newsome finished off with two of his own at the death.

Holloway was involved again, breaking through two tackles and sending the reserve away for his NSW debut score.

The utility back was at it again, with the clock winding down, he powered over for his second (and fourth double of the match), which provided the record-breaking scoreline for the Australians.

Phew.

Waratahs versus Sunwolves video highlights.

Final score: Waratahs 77 (24) Sunwolves 25 (18)

Scorers

Waratahs
Tries – Kepu, Folau (2), Beale, Hanigan, Phipps, Naiyaravoro (2), Rona, Wells, Newsome (2)
Pen – Foley
Con – Foley (7)
Drop –
Cards –

Sunwolves
Tries – Yamada (2), Leitch
Pen – Parker (2)
Con – Parker (2)
Drop –
Cards – Masirewa (Red, 39′), Tanaka (Yellow, 70′)

Match Officials
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2: James Leckie
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore

Teams

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cameron Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.

Sunwolves: 15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Yutaka Nagare (captain), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar

Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura

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