The New South Wales Waratahs went to the top of the Australian conference with a six-try Super Rugby romp over the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
The Waratahs, with their Wallaby backs contingent running the show, downed the Rebels 41-19 in their bonus point victory to displace the ACT Brumbies, who face the Northern Bulls in Pretoria later Friday.
It was the third straight game that the Waratahs had scored five tries or more as they continue their climb up the Super 15 standings.
The Waratahs had too much potency in attack for the gritty Rebels and only shoddy goalkicking from Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale prevented the Sydneysiders from exceeding a half-century of points.
The Rebels stuck to their guns but they were never going to repeat their shock 24-22 win in the corresponding match against the Waratahs in Melbourne last year.
Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Michael Hooper, Beale and Israel Folau, who all were named this week in the Wallabies squad to face the touring French, scored tries along with replacement scrum-half Brendan McKibbin.
In the process Wallaby fullback Folau equalled a Waratah try-scoring record with his 10th try of the season to take his career tally to 18 tries in 23 games for NSW.
Foley, also named in the Wallabies squad, kicked one conversion and three penalties from eight attempts, while Beale missed with all three of his shots.
The Rebels' only try came from a runaway from winger Telusa Veainu, who scooped up a loose pass from Folau and outsprinted the Tahs' cover in an 80-metre run to the try-line.
Jason Woodward kicked four penalties and a conversion for the Rebels.
The Waratahs led 16-9 at half-time and ran away with the contest in the second half, scoring 25 points to 10.
It was a great tonic for the Waratahs, who face last season's champions Waikato Chiefs and the Brumbies in their next two games.
“I thought we controlled possession well and probably our discipline and our goalkicking let us down a bit, but to get a bonus point was a really good effort,” Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis said.
“Last year we lost down here so we knew it would be tough and at half-time they were still very much in it, and we knew we had to keep working in the second half.” - AFP