Naiyaravoro double puts Tahs on top Down Under
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Powerful wing Taqele Naiyaravoro scored two tries as the Waratahs eased past the Reds in an Australian interstate derby.
The 37-16 bonus-point win puts the Tahs at the top of the Australian derby - overtaking the Rebels, who lost to the Jaguares earlier in the day.
The New South Wales outfit have now won eight on the bounce against their Australian rivals, with the Queenslanders' last triumph coming in 2013 when they overcame the 'Tahs 14-12.
Once again, Taqele Naiyaravoro was sensational, continuing his fine form, as he ran for over 150 metres for the second week in a row.
The Waratahs enjoyed quick, front-foot ball and played with great width, making ten offloads to the Reds' zero in the first half an hour.
They were also enjoying the majority of the possession (56 percent) but only had a 6-0 lead thanks to two Bernard Foley penalties to show for their dominance after 18 minutes.
Jono Lance slotted a 25th-minute penalty to get the Reds on the board. Soon afterwards, they needlessly kicked the ball away to Kurtley Beale who sprung the counter-attack, before Michael Wells was freed on the overlap out on the right wing. Wells timed a brilliant right-to-left inside pass perfectly for Jake Gordon, who had the pace to make it the thirty or so metres to the line. Foley added the extras as the home side extended the lead to 13-3.
James Tuttle's penalty narrowed the gap to seven points at 13-6 before shortly referee Angus Gardner blew his whistle to signal the half-time break.
The Reds had come back into the game in the last twenty minutes of the first half, reversing the possession statistics in their favour. They continued to control proceedings after the break but, like the 'Tahs at the beginning of the game, only had a 45th minute Tuttle penalty for their efforts.
They were punished when against the run of play, Naiyaravoro intercepted Jono Lance's dozey pass three minutes after the interval to beat Reds fullback Aidan Toua in a two-man race for the line.
In the 59th minute, it was time for the Reds to also score an intercept try, Filipo Daugunu pouncing on Bernard Foley's unnecessary pass to go all the way and over. Lance's conversion cut the deficit to seven at 23-16 with the Reds well and truly back in it with a quarter to go.
Ten minutes later and with ten minutes to go, Naiyaravoro grabbed his brace, with a superb close-range finish after the Waratahs had got close through a dozen of well-structured phases. Foley maintained his perfect record for the evening with the conversion to stretch the lead to 30-16.
The Waratahs finished with a flourish when front-row replacement Harry Johnson-Holmes went over with the pick and drive to give the Waratahs a deserved bonus-point.
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Gordon, Naiyaravoro 2, Johnson-Holmes
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 3
For the Reds:
Pens: Tuttle 3
Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Cameron Clark.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Izaia Perese, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Jean-Pierre Smith, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Adam Korczyk, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen & James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub