Waratahs hold off Rebels to maintain top position

Bernard Foley was impressive for Waratahs
Bernard Foley was impressive for Waratahs

Rebels 26-31 Waratahs, AAMI Park

Waratahs consolidated their position at the top as they edged out Melbourne Rebels in the Australian derby clash of Super Rugby at AAMI Park on Saturday.

Waratahs now have 39 points from 14 games as they maintained their position at the top while Rebels are at second with 35 points.

Reece Hodge kicked a second-minute penalty to begin the proceedings for Rebels but 14 minutes later they suffered a setback when Bill Meakes was sin-binned for a cynical offence at the breakdown.

Waratahs response came in the 18th minute when winger Taqele Naiyaravoro took on a pass from Dane Haylett-Petty to score the opening try and skipper Bernard Foley slotted the conversion to make it 3-7.

Foley gave Waratahs breathing space as he kicked his first penalty kick in the 31st minute but Rebels were quick to respond when a long pass from Michael Ruru found Meakes, who in turn offloaded to Dane Haylett-Petty as he dotted down.

However, his efforts were negated when Rebels responded through flanker Will Miller just before the break as the teams headed into the break with a 10-17 scoreline.

Rebels were quick to get off the block in the second half with Ruru diving over the line and Hodge kicking a conversion and three more penalties before the end of the third quarter to make it 26-17. However, Waratahs did not panic under pressure and instead dominated the final 12 minutes to complete a thrilling win.

Kurtley Beale made an initial break but it was Ned Hanigan, who scored the third for the visitors in the 69th minute and three minutes later Foley also scored a converted try to seal a 26-31 victory.

Super Rugby 2019 Points Table