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Waratahs too good for Rebels

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MELBOURNEP - The NSW Waratahs showed they intend being a Super Rugby finals force after putting the Melbourne Rebels to the sword 41-19 at AAMI Park.

The Waratahs left Melbourne with a valuable bonus point after scoring six tries, with a backline containing too much strikepower for the home side.

With five-eighth Bernard Foley pulling the strings, NSW had too many attacking options with Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau, Rob Horne and Kurtley Beale among the tryscorers.

Goal-kickers Foley and Beale both had rare off nights with the boot, leaving 16 points on the field, but it didn't matter in the end as they booked their first win on the road in Australia this season.

The Waratahs opened the scoring with a penalty shot by Foley, who then set up their first try with a beautifully worked set move.

He used a dummy switch to wrong-foot the defence and then off-loaded to in-form winger Horne who carved through the defence.

Two penalties by Rebels fullback Jason Woodward closed the gap to 8-6 and then in the 24th minute the hard-working home side hit lead as he slotted a third.

However it was short-lived with Foley lining up another three-pointer after an infringement at the ruck by the Rebels.

Beale popped a lovely ball to Ashley-Cooper just before halftime that allowed the visitors to take a 16-9 lead to the sheds.

Melbourne's cause wasn't helped by losing hooker Pat Leafa to a yellow card after the halftime hooter for hands in the ruck.

The Rebels' outstanding defence kept them in the match but with big bodies such as uncapped Wallaby Will Skelton entering the fray the Waratahs started to dominate the breakdown and put Melbourne on the back foot.

The cracks opened up with flanker Michael Hooper grabbing the ball from the back of the scrum to scoot across the line.

Rebels winger Telusa Veainu picked up a loose ball and dashed 80 metres to touch down in the 60th minute but the rest of the half was one-way traffic.

Folau's try, in the 71st minute, was his 10th for the season equalling a 2005 record set by Peter Hewitt.

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