Winger Drew Mitchell scored four tries as the Waratahs celebrated captain Phil Waugh’s record-breaking appearance with a 73-12 victory over the Lions in a Super 14 match in Sydney on Friday.
Waugh made his 119th appearance for New South Wales, passing former scrumhalf Chris Whitaker’s previous mark of 118 matches.
Mitchell also became the first New South Wales player to score four tries in a Super rugby game, while the Waratahs scored their most points in a match and exceeded their largest winning margin in the competition.
“The guys were trying to run the ball around and the conditions were dry, which helped with the handling,” Waugh said in a televised interview. “I think the guys were excited.
“It’s important to get people to the game and we are aware of that so we are trying to play as entertainingly as possible and get people to the ground.”
The Waratahs had opened a massive 33-5 lead by halftime as the Lions fell off tackles and made elementary mistakes with Mitchell scoring two tries, while Dean Mumm, Tom Carter and Lachie Turner also crossed.
Wallabies inside centre Berrick Barnes, who exercised a one-year contract extension with the Waratahs earlier in the week, converted four of the tries.
Winger Tonderai Chavhanga crossed for the Lions’ only points of the half when Mitchell twice bungled a clearance close to his goal line only for Chavhanga to flop on the loose ball.
The Lions lost any semblance of structure and turned the ball over constantly in the face of tough New South Wales defence in the second half allowing Mitchell to cross for two more tries, as did replacement scrumhalf Josh Holmes.
Number eight Wycliff Palu also scored, before Turner added his second try of the match after the hooter had gone while Barnes added five more conversions.
The Lions managed a consolation try by replacement prop JC Janse van Rensburg, which was converted by Burton Francis, who had replaced former All Blacks flyhalf Carlos Spencer at halftime.
“I think (we missed) the one on one tackles and we have to sort those things out,” Lions captain Cobus Grobelaar said. “When you play a team like the Waratahs they punish you.”
[Info from Sport24.co.za]