SYDNEY - Substitute Ben Volavola has sparked a second-half revival from the NSW Waratahs, who powered home to beat the Melbourne Rebels 31-26 in their Super Rugby clash in Sydney.
Volavola's injection into the match a few minutes after halftime resulted in the 22-year-old shifting to fullback with star recruit Israel Folau moving to the right wing and Tom Kingston replaced.
Coach Michael Cheika's much-vaunted running rugby didn't eventuate in the first half on Friday night with the Waratahs trailing 16-6 at the break.
The only five-pointer came from Rebels hooker Ged Robinson from a short lineout in the 26th minute in slippery conditions.
But Cheika's call to send Volavola on brought the side to life and also put the lethal Folau into the game.
With Rebels prop Laurie Weeks in the sin bin, the Waratahs made the visitors pay with a nice exchange of passes.
Folau drew in a couple of defenders before finding Kane Douglas, who popped a ball to five-eighth Bernard Foley to score on 58 minutes.
The home side scored again seven minutes later through openside flanker Michael Hooper on the back of mounting pressure from close range.
Replacement prop Paddy Ryan then barged over to score and seal the game with five minutes remaining, with Kurtley Beale scoring a consolation try in the dying seconds.
Waratahs halfback Brendan McKibbin racked up 16 points from four penalty goals and two conversions, as did Rebels fullback James O'Connor.