22 Feb 2015

Waratahs roll Rebels in Melbourne

2:42 pm on 22 February 2015

The defending champion New South Wales Waratahs scrapped their way to a first win of the Super Rugby season with a hard-fought 38-28 victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

Bernard Foley of the Waratahs celebrates his teams win at the Super Rugby Final, Waratahs v Crusaders, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. Saturday 2 August 2014.

Bernard Foley of the Waratahs celebrates his teams win at the Super Rugby Final, Waratahs v Crusaders, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. Saturday 2 August 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After last week's disappointment in their opening round loss to the Western Force, the Waratahs banked their first competition points in Melbourne.

The controversial Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale put on a vintage display to seal the victory.

After temporarily leaving the field following a head-knock, the former Rebel set up his team's first try with a deft chip kick over the defence which he collected and then off-loaded to Stephen Hoiles.

He then scored a 73rd-minute try that broke a 28-28 deadlock.

The Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro had a mixed night - scoring two second half tries, but was also yellow-carded for a deliberate foul when the Rebels were on the attack.

The Rebels were looking for their first back-to-back wins to start a season and threw everything at the visitors but came up agonisingly short.

It was another impressive display after their wooden-spoon finish last season.

The Waratahs clung to a 16-14 half-time lead, which should have been more but for a try after the buzzer by Rebel Lopeti Timani.

In a stand-out match the lock dived over the line after halfback Luke Burgess stole the ball from a Waratahs scrum.

Earlier Melbourne skipper Scott Higginbotham found a gaping hole off a nothing play to touch down for the first of the match in the 12th minute.

Both sides got plenty of try-scoring action in the second half with Naiyaravoro's double, while Burgess and Melbourne-born winger Sefanaia Naivalu also crossed.

But Beale broke the Rebels' hearts after a break by first-five Bernard Foley, who also added a late penalty for the 10-point margin.

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