Ruthless Reds stay unbeaten after dominating Waratahs
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SYDNEY - The unbeaten Reds continued their domination of this season’s Super Rugby AU with a 46-14 thrashing of traditional rivals Waratahs at Stadium Australia on Saturday.
The Reds overcame an error-strewn start to score seven-to-one tries and move atop the five-team table after six rounds.
Last year's runners-up continue to torment opponents with a high-octane style, which has yielded a perfect 5-0 record as the 10-round competition enters its pointy end.
The bonus point victory, however, was slightly soured by a hamstring injury to star recruit Suliasi Vunivalu.
“We want to stay with our structures and game plan every match,” Reds stand-in captain James O'Connor said.
"We stuck in the fight and got points late."
The hapless Waratahs remain winless and anchored at the bottom of the ladder, with their finals dreams all but over.
“We were up for the battle but weren't clinical enough and made basic errors,” Waratahs stand-in captain Alex Newsome said.
Even though it’s been a miserable campaign thus far, the Waratahs had aimed for a rosier second half of the season to emulate last year’s remarkable late resurrection where they almost reached the finals.
The underdogs started fast and capitalised on an undisciplined Reds side, with Will Harrison nailing two penalties in the opening six minutes.
But it wasn't long until the league leaders clicked into gear, with the explosive Tate McDermott spectacularly weaving past several defenders to cross over for the game's first try.
The Waratahs, however, displayed a tenacity lacking in the first half of the season as they repelled a slew of menacing attacks from the Reds.
The home side's bid to stay afloat was dealt a blow when lock Sam Wykes exited with a hand injury.
The Reds took advantage and started dominating possession, but were undone by unforced errors until Lukhan Salakaia-Loto crashed over in the right corner for a try in the 29th minute.
Their unrelenting pressure was further rewarded when Filipo Daugunu's terrific first half was capped with a try moments before the long break.
The Waratahs tried to stymie the expected second half onslaught and finally scored a try in the 53rd minute through Harrison, before the Reds put the foot down with substitute Alex Mafi scoring a hat-trick of tries in a late flurry.
Despite its top billing, the rivalry has been completely one-sided this season with the Reds destroying their arch-nemesis 41-7 in a record thumping in round one.
The Reds once again claimed the bragging rights and earned their first win in Sydney since 2013.