Sydney - The Waratahs have scored six tries in a thumping 44-16 win over the
Highlanders to lock up top spot in Super Rugby in Sydney on Sunday.
The Tahs were in irresistible form, racing away from the Highlanders in the second half after shading them 11-9 at halftime.
was the Waratahs' sixth straight victory and their biggest-ever win
over the Highlanders to underline their favourites tag for this year's
Super 15 title.
The Waratahs are clearly enjoying their rugby
under coach Michael Cheika as they chase their first Super Rugby
championship after being runners-up in 2005 and 2008.
bonus-point victory took them an unassailable seven points ahead of the
Canterbury Crusaders and Coastal Sharks on the overall standings heading
into next weekend's final regular round of the season.
also means the Waratahs will host a semi-final and are just one game
away from staging this year's Super 15 final given their guaranteed top
The Waratahs have all the title momentum and look every
inch a championship side in the making with tries from Rob Horne, Israel
Folau, Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps, Jacques Potgieter and winger newcomer
Fly-half Bernard Foley kicked four conversions and two penalties to swell his season haul to 199 points.
Highlanders, who will play the Crusaders for the New Zealand conference
title in Christchurch next weekend, were in the game at halftime after
three penalty goals from Lima Sopoaga got them within two points of the
But they didn't register another point until a kick and chase try from replacement Phil Burleigh with seven minutes left.
The Waratahs had the last word with the hulking Naiyaravoro scoring his team's sixth try in the final minute.
Waratahs had plenty of outstanding performers, headed by Wallabies
Kurtley Beale and Foley, while South African lock Potgieter was a tower
of strength in the forwards.
Folau scored his 12th try of the
season and coach Cheika took the opportunity to clear his replacements
bench with victory assured inside the final 20 minutes.
needs to be doing their jobs well at this point of the season and we did
that tonight, six tries to one, can't complain," Waratahs skipper
Michael Hooper said.
The Waratahs finish off their regular season
with an anticipated feisty Australian derby against the Reds
"It's always tough playing up there and we look
forward to that and with the last round game of the year we need guys to
be fit and ready to go," Hooper said.
Otago skipper Nasi Manu said poor execution had cost his side their chance against the rampant Waratahs.
were crucial errors at crucial times and there were opportunities, but
one pass wasn't quite accurate or there was a dropped ball," Manu said.
Tries: Rob Horne, Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps, Jacques Potgieter, Taqele Naiyaravoro
Conversions: Bernard Foley (4)
Penalties: Foley (2)
Tries: Phil Burleigh
Conversions: Hayden Parker
Penalties: Lima Sopoaga (3)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Dougles, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Substitutes (from): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitch Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Jono Lance, 24 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 25 Cam Crawford
15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Chris King, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Lee Allan, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh