Waratahs 32 Reds 5

Livewire: Nick Phipps looks to offload.

Livewire: Nick Phipps looks to offload. Photo: Getty Images

It isn't often second-rowers are cheered off the paddock, or any member of the tight five for that matter. But such was the impact of former Springbok Jacques Potgieter in a superb pack in the Waratahs' astonishing annihilation of the Reds that the crowd could not help but show their appreciation.

After five straight losses to the Queenslanders, the Waratahs' forwards built a destructive platform off which their ball players launched raid after devastating raid on the Reds' line.

It was the Waratahs biggest Super Rugby win over the Reds and sweet revenge on their respected but maligned interstate rivals.

Ben Tapuai of the Reds contemplates the result.

Ben Tapuai of the Reds contemplates the result. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
WAR
Score
32
Team
RED
Score
5
Waratahs versus Reds
View Match Statistics
Players Folau (2min, 25min), Betham (33min), Beale (46min) Tries 4 Tries 1 Players Turner (40min)
Players Foley 3/4 (75%) Conversions 3 Conversions 0 Players Cooper 0/1 (0%)
Players Foley 2/2 (100%) Penalty goals 2 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Drop goals 0 Drop goals 0 Players

It might have taken about 15 months, but Michael Cheika could finally have the pack he has wanted since taking charge of the Waratahs.

The NSW forwards were abrasive, athletic and dogged. They punched hole after hole in the Queensland defence with furious interplay and attacking weapons Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps benefited from it.

The result was near-total domination, as Queensland found their trademark defensive line speed no answer to a cleverly chaotic NSW attack.

Unstoppable: Israel Folau.

Unstoppable: Israel Folau. Photo: Getty Images

It took just 2½ minutes for Israel Folau to open the scoring and by the 34th minute the home team was up 19-0. Only the sin-binning of Folau, their key strike weapon, for intentionally swiping the ball into touch late in the first half, threatened to derail the NSW steam train.

But instead of withering before the overlap, the Waratahs stepped it up a notch, inside-centre Beale using impeccable judgment to take a quick tap, dummy twice and bolt over the line.

The Reds were more dangerous in the second half, ramping up the pressure in Waratahs territory, but the NSW defence held strong, securing turnovers when it counted and launching fast off their line to shut down Queensland's plays.

A late first-half try to former Waratahs winger Lachie Turner was the only bright spot in the Reds' performance.

Queensland took advantage of Folau's absence to move the ball wide where Turner waited. Five-eighth Quade Cooper - suffocated by the NSW defence for most of the evening - missed the conversion, leaving Turner's five-pointer the only mark on the Reds' side of the ledger.

Folau was once again instrumental in the Waratahs' attack, busting his way into the thick of the action to be exactly where he needed to be, at precisely the right time.

It worked the first time in the third minute after a line-bending run up the middle by Wycliff Palu.

Phipps dragged the ball out of the ruck and gave it to Foley, who delivered a flat pass to Beale. He offloaded to a waiting Folau who stormed over for his fourth try of the season. Foley couldn't convert, leaving NSW 5-0 up.

NSW were cleaner on attack but still hobbled themselves with miracle passes on occasion and a raft of penalties at the ruck inside the Reds' 22.

But the home side would not be held out, and another superb piece of link play between Foley, Potgieter and Folau delivering the dual international his second try of the match and his fifth in two games. Foley found his radar and booted NSW to a 12-0 lead.

Winger Peter Betham scored in the 34th-minute, shooting through a gaping hole left by Reds defenders marking Beale. NSW went 19-0 up after the conversion 

By this time, the Waratahs were running amok, while their defence ensured Queensland was utterly nullified in attack.

Palu showed for a second week running that he is back close to his rampaging best; Potgieter put hit after hit on unsuspecting Reds players; hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau made crucial carries and prop Benn Robinson was lethal on the ground. The NSW back row, where veteran Stephen Hoiles filled in for injured captain Dave Dennis, was excellent at the breakdown.

It was the most unified and lethal performance the team has produced under Cheika.