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Super Rugby: New South Wales Waratahs ease past Queensland Reds
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New South Wales Waratahs capped a table-topping season with a comfortable 34-3 victory over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Waratahs, who already had the Australian Conference title and top spot wrapped up in Super Rugby, were helped on their way to a 12th win of the season thanks to two tries from Kurtley Beale at Suncorp Stadium.
Jonno Lance and Beale scored two quick first-half tries before the clash became a taut struggle that was characterised by the Waratahs capitalising on their opportunities while the Reds squandered their own with poor handling and execution.
Waratahs' flyhalf Bernard Foley added his second penalty early in the second half before Beale finished off a movement he had sparked from inside his own half and scrumhalf Nick Phipps scored a late try that gave the visitors a bonus point.
"We're happy with the win. It was good to put a few tries on and keep them tryless," Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said. "It was a tough game. They came out really tough and ripping into us at the start. We had to weather that but I'm happy with the boys' effort."
The result means the 'Tahs finish regular season seven points clear of the Crusaders at the top of the standings having secured no less than nine try-scoring bonus points in 16 games.
The Reds were first to score with an early penalty from Mike Harris but the 'Tahs replied with two tries in quick succession.
Beale broke clear inside the Reds' 22, beat two defenders before offloading to Lance, who crashed over for the opening try.
Beale touched down for the second try just three minutes later after Cam Crawford had bust clear inside his own half before sending it wide.
Bernard Foley added both conversions and the visitors were cruising at 14-3.
The Reds dominated the second quarter and were camped inside the Waratahs' half but were unable to convert the pressure into points, even after Sekope Kepu saw yellow for punching Beau Robinson.
Foley adds another three-pointer, against the general run of play, on the stroke of half-time to give the 'Tahs a 14-point headstart ahead of the second half.
Foley slotted another penalty before Beale bagged his second try following a period of sustained pressure and a pass from Brendan McKibbin.
The extras from Foley took the score to 27-3 going into the final quarter.
Any hopes the Reds had of a comeback disappeared with a yellow card to replacement loose forward Sam Johnson for a tip tackle on Beale.
Phipps capped another impressive performance with try number four after Taqele Naiyaravoro burst down the left touchline before offloading the scrum-half, who scored in the corner.
"We did a lot of good things tonight and then just stupid little errors let us down," Reds captain James Horwill said. "They hurt us from long range a lot of the time and they hurt us from our errors."Super 15. Click here to bet.