Kurtley Beale started at full-back in place of Israel Folau and the Waratahs showed great spirit to overcome the Rebels at the SCG.

Waratahs rally to victory in Folau's absence


The Waratahs produced a stirring second-half comeback to defeat the Rebels 23-20 at the SCG in their first match since Israel Folau was stood down.

Daryl Gibson's side scored 16 unanswered points after the break to claim their first victory in three despite the absence of Folau, who faces a Rugby Australia hearing that could result in him being sacked after his latest controversial social media posts about homosexuality and gender.

The Rebels were dealt a blow with the second-minute loss of wing Jack Maddocks – the joint-leading try scorer in Super Rugby this season – due to a head clash with Cameron Clark and subsequent failed HIA, but Quade Cooper's penalty put them in front.

Jed Holloway did superbly to set up Adam Ashley-Cooper for the opening try, but Bill Meakes and Reece Hodge gave the Rebels a 13-point lead at half-time.

Bernard Foley slotted through a pair of penalties before intercepting a line-out and racing home in the 57th minute, and the fly-half added the extras to tie the game up.

Foley split the posts from the tee once more in the 65th minute and, after Hodge struck the upright with a penalty, Sam Talakai's yellow card left the Rebels a man light as they failed to salvage a result.

The Highlanders ended their five-game losing run by defeating the Blues 24-12 in Dunedin.

Josh Ioane's conversion was the difference at the break after Tom Robinson and Shannon Frizell exchanged scores – the latter crossing for the sixth time this season.

The Blues conceded a penalty try after being overpowered at the scrum and Matt Faddes raced away off an interception four minutes later, with Melani Nanai's effort at the last for the visitors proving nothing but a consolation.



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