Impressive Waratahs crush Reds
The Waratahs underlined their status as favourites for the Super Rugby title with a 34-3 win over the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The result means the 'Tahs finish regular season seven points clear of the Crusaders at the top of the standings having secured no less than nine try-scoring bonus points in 16 games.
Although they outscored their hosts four tries to none, it was the Sydneysider's defence which impressed as they soaked up buckets of pressure from the Reds without ever really looking troubled.
The Waratahs led 17-3 at the interval thanks to tries for Kurtley Beale and Jono Lance. Beale bagged a second after the break with Nick Phipps securing the bonus point in the closing minutes.
Bernard Foley - already the season's top points scorer - extended his lead in the charts with 14 points in another first-class performance.
The Reds were first to score with an early penalty from Mike Harris but the 'Tahs replied with two tries in quick succession.
Beale broke clear inside the Reds' 22, beat two defenders before offloading to Lance, who crashed over for the opening try.
Beale touched down for the second try just three minutes later after Cam Crawford had bust clear inside his own half before sending it wide.
Bernard Foley added both conversions and the visitors were cruising at 14-3.
The Reds dominated the second quarter and were camped inside the Waratahs' half but were unable to convert the pressure into points, even after Sekope Kepu saw yellow for punching Beau Robinson.
Foley adds another three-pointer, against the general run of play, on the stroke of half-time to give the 'Tahs a 14-point headstart ahead of the second half.
Foley slotted another penalty before Beale bagged his second try following a period of sustained pressure and a pass from Brendan McKibbin.
The extras from Foley took the score to 27-3 going into the final quarter.
Any hopes the Reds had of a comeback disappeared with a yellow card to replacement loose forward Sam Johnson for a tip tackle on Beale.
Phipps capped another impressive performance with try number four after Taqele Naiyaravoro burst down the left touchline before offloading the scrum-half, who scored in the corner.
Yellow card: Johnson
Tries: Lance, Beale 2, Phipps
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2
Yellow card: Kepu
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Scott Gale, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Albert Anae, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Sam Johnson, 22 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 23 Chris Kuridrani.
Waratahs: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Stephen Hoiles , 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Michael Ala'alatoa, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon , 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Referee: Mike Fraser