Centre Lalaki Foketi’s late first-half try sparked a remarkable unanswered 38-point burst by the Waratahs as they fought back from a 20-3 deficit to beat the Rebels in scorching conditions on Sunday.
In temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius, Foketi’s try revived the Waratahs, who scored second half tries to Rob Simmons, Mitch Short, Bryce Hegarty and Taqele Naiyaravoro to race out to a 41-20 lead.
Tom English, Amanaki Mafi and Jack Maddocks had all scored for the Rebels in the first half before Matt Philip crossed in the second to give them hope of a comeback before Naiyaravoro scored his second to seal the remarkable victory.
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Winger Filipo Daugunu finished off a sparkling team try at the end of a sweeping 70-metre movement as the Reds overcame an error-prone Jaguares side in Buenos Aires.
Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa also scored for the visitors, who won their third successive match with an improved work ethic under new coach Brad Thorn.
Winger Bautista Delguy scored an early try for the home side, who beat the Waratahs last week, and had plenty of opportunities to win but made too many handling errors and wasted numerous try-scoring chances.
Juan Martin Hernandez had a try disallowed by the television match official while the Jaguares had three others denied by desperate last-gasp defence by Samu Kerevi, Caleb Timu and Hamish Stewart.
The Lions survived a massive scare as they held off the Sunwolves to return to winning ways in Super Rugby having been pipped at the death by the Blues the previous weekend.
Hooker Malcolm Marx was at the centre of most of their good work and scored two tries as the Lions led for much of the game, but found themselves trailing with 20 minutes to go.
The Sunwolves scored five tries in an impressive attacking display, though they were helped by some poor Lions tackling, and will rue not managing to secure a first ever away Super Rugby win.
The Lions, who have lost the last two Super Rugby finals, will have to tighten up defensively, but were again efficient in attack as they took their tally of points this season to 197 in five games.
A strong first half performance saw the Stormers return to winning ways despite the rigours of long-haul travel and a flu bug that had left many of the players and management staff bed-ridden this week.
The Cape Town-based side led 24-3 at the break, but noticeably wilted in the second period as the past week, in which many of the players had limited training due to illness, took its toll.
Centre EW Viljoen (two), wing Raymond Rhule and scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage scored their tries, while teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse produced a faultless kicking display with 17 points.
The Blues could not reproduce their stunning victory over the Lions last week as they scored tries through the Ioane brothers, number eight Akira and centre Rieko, and fullback Michael Collins.
The Brumbies overcame having two players yellow carded to ensure they did not lose a third successive game as they beat the Sharks in a match that failed to generate any real momentum.
The stop-start nature of the game was due to both sides being heavily penalised with Brumbies’ flanker Lachlan McCaffrey and prop Allan Ala’alatoa testing referee Glen Jackson’s patience once too often and getting yellow cards.
Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera proved the difference as he slotted four penalties to go with tries to wingers Lausii Taliauli and Henry Speight.
Sharks’ prop Thomas du Toit crashed over for the visitors following one of the rare periods of sustained pressure, while fullback Curwin Bosch scored the best try of the match after they finally broke the Brumbies’ defence out wide with three minutes left.
Highlanders flanker Elliot Dixon provided a vital second-half spark with some storming runs and a try while his side was reduced to 14-men to give them victory over champions Crusaders in Dunedin.
Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga added a try and slotted two late penalties for the home side. Hooker Liam Coltman also scored in a frenetic first half.
Crusaders’ winger George Bridge scored an early try for the eight-times champions, while scrumhalf Bryn Hall finished off a sweeping movement in the second half sparked by replacement winger Manasa Mataele.
Lock Brodie Retallick scored two tries and had a hand in another as he virtually seized his side by the scruff of the neck to produce a fiery second half and overcome a surprisingly expansive Bulls side in Hamilton.
Jonathan Fa’auli, Mitch Brown, Solomon Alaimalo and Anton-Leinert-Brown also crossed for the home side, who had to twice fight back from a 14-point deficit as the Bulls threw the ball around.
Divan Rossouw (two), Warrick Gelant and Handre Pollard all crossed for the Bulls, who were kept scoreless in the second half, but were outstanding with the ball in hand in the first 40 minutes. (Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Nick Said; Editing by John O’Brien)