SYDNEY – The Waratahs posted a record score as they clinched the Australian conference title while the Wellington Hurricanes beat the Blues to all but ensure them a home Super Rugby quarter-final on Saturday.
The Waratahs crushed the Sunwolves 77-25 in Sydney, scoring 12 tries to three against the under-manned Japanese team.
The bonus point win ended a three-match losing streak and lifted the 'Canes five points clear of the Waikato Chiefs, who retained a faint mathematical chance of hosting a quarter-final when they held off a fast-finishing ACT Brumbies to win their encounter 24-19.
It was the Waratahs' biggest score in Super Rugby and came after the Sunwolves led 18-12 in the first 30 minutes before the game swung on the red carding of centre Semisi Masirewa for a late lifting tackle on Bernard Foley leaving his side to play out the rest of the game a man down.
The Tahs led 24-18 at half-time but went on a second half rampage, adding another 53 points to the Sunwolves seven.
Wallabies fullback Israel Folau returned from his one-match suspension to score a try double, while hulking winger Taqele Naiyaravoro went over for a brace to take his season try tally to 13.
Foley kicked seven conversions and a penalty for 17 points and along the way brought up 900 career points for the Waratahs.