Late Blooming Waratahs win fourth straight game



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The Waratahs consolidated their place in Super 14’s top four with four second-half tries to claim a bonus-point 26-3 win over South Africa’s Golden Lions on Saturday.

The Waratahs rebounded from a dire scoreless first half in the rain to put the Johannesburg Lions away with livewire scrum-half Luke Burgess sparking the home team to their fourth straight win.

The Sydney team moved to joint second place midway through the 10th round and boosting their confidence for a crucial home game against the Coastal Sharks next Saturday.

But it was turgid going in an opening half stalemate with both teams unable to post a point in gloomy conditions.

Skipper Phil Waugh finally got the Waratahs on the scoreboard in the 46th minute with a try in the corner after a snappy pass from fly-half Kurtley Beale off a goal-line maul.

Scrum-half Jano Vermaak kicked the Lions’ only points with a penalty goal seven minutes later, but Burgess swiftly changed the complexion of the match with two pieces of quick thinking.

Burgess, zooming into calculations as a potential Wallaby scrum-half after the retirement of George Gregan, took a quick tap penalty to catch the Lions’ defence off guard.

He passed to lock Dean Mumm who plunged over under the crossbar for a 12-3 lead after 57 minutes.

Burgess struck again a minute later, kicking downfield and charging down replacement back Jannie Boshoff’s clearing kick for hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau to score the Waratahs’ third try, converted by Beale.

The Waratahs seized their scoring bonus point when replacement hooker Adam Freier scored off the back of a driving maul nine minutes from fulltime.

The Waratahs have a tough finish to the season with next weekend’s final home match against the Sharks followed by matches in South Africa against the Bulls and Stormers before returning home for a fierce Australian derby with Reds in Brisbane.

The Lions, who remain stranded at the bottom of the standings with just one win and a draw from nine games, stay in Australia for their final tour game against the Brumbies in Canberra next Friday.

Sapa-AFP – Super14.com

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