Cape Town - The Waratahs continued with their impressive form against the
Sunwolves when they thrashed the Tokyo-based side 77-25 in Sydney on Saturday.
This was the Waratahs' third win by more than 50 points against
the Sunwolves in as many matches and it is also the most points the
Sydneysiders have scored in a Super Rugby match.
The triumph means that Daryl Gibson's side have booked their
place in the knockout stage with a round still to play and they will finish at
the top of the Australian Conference.
As the scoreline suggests, the Waratahs were worthy winners as
the outscored the Sunwolves by 12 tries to three although the complexion of
this match changed just before half-time when the visitors were reduced to 14
men after Semisi Masirewa was red carded for a tip-tackle on Bernard Foley.
The Sunwolves opened the scoring in the 10th minute courtesy of
a Hayden Parker penalty - his 36th successive place-kick which is a new Super
Rugby record - but the Waratahs' response was immediate as just a minute later
Sekope Kepu crossed for the opening try.
Foley slotted the conversion which gave the Waratahs a 7-3 lead
before Parker reduced the deficit to a point when he added his second penalty
in the 20th minute.
Two minutes later, the Sunwolves regained the lead when Foley
failed to deal with a kick from Parker midway between the halfway line and the
Waratahs' 22. Akihito Yamada pounced on Foley's mistake and gathered the ball
from under the fly-half's nose before racing away to score his side's first
The home side struck back in the 25th minute when Israel Folau
broke through the Sunwolves defence on his way over the try-line but this
game's topsy-turvy nature continued when Michael Leitch broke through a tackle
from Ned Hanigan before dotting down shortly afterwards.
That gave the visitors an 18-12 lead but the Waratahs responded
with a well-taken try from Kurtley Beale in the 34th minute after good work from
Sekope Kepu in the build-up and Foley's conversion gave the hosts a narrow
Shortly before half-time, Folau crossed for his second try,
after gathering a pass from Foley, who took that dangerous hit from Masirewa
which resulted in the wing's red card.
With a man down, the writing was on the wall for the Sunwolves
and after a 42nd minute penalty from Foley, the Waratahs hammered home their
dominance with further tries from Hanigan, Nick Phipps and Taqele Naiyaravoro -
the latter one was a momentous one for the burly wing as it was his 13th try of
the campaign which is a Waratahs record for a season.
Despite trailing by more than 20 points, the Sunwolves did not
surrender and in the 55th minute Yamada rounded Folau with brilliant footwork
before crossing for his second try.
The Waratahs soon regained the initiative, however, and on the
hour-mark Curtis Rona rounded off in the right-hand corner before Michael Wells
scored their ninth try in the 65th minute.
That knocked the wind out of the Sunwolves' sails and things
went from bad to worse for them when Fumiaki Tanaka was yellow carded in the
70th minute for a dangerous tackle on Jake Gordon.
With a two-man advantage, the Waratahs controlled the game's
closing stages and were rewarded with further tries from Naiyaravoro and Alex
Newsome (2) which sealed an emphatic win.
Sekope Kepu, Israel Folau (2), Kurtley Beale, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Taqele Naiyaravoro (2), Curtis Rona, Michael Wells, Alex Newsome (2)
Conversions: Bernard Foley (7)
Tries: Akihito Yamada (2), Michael Leitch
Conversions: Hayden Parker (2)
Penalties: Parker (2)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam 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
Subs: 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
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
Substitutes: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Wimpie Vanderwlat, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura