Waratahs beaten despite Folau & Foley milestones, Hodge hat-trick sinks Sunwolves
Landmark scores from Israel Folau and Bernard Foley were not enough for the Waratahs on Saturday as they ultimately paid the price for an abysmal start in a 32-29 Super Rugby defeat to the Blues.
Folau became the competition's outright leading try-scorer with his 60th touchdown, while Foley moved beyond 1,000 Super Rugby points at Eden Park. The fly-half is the sixth man to reach that tally.
However, their respective scores only came after the Blues had romped into a 17-0 lead inside 18 minutes. Although the Waratahs fought back superbly, they could never get their noses in front thereafter.
The otherwise impressive Folau was guilty of a loose pass that enabled Ma'a Nonu to surge over for the Blues' fourth and final try, one that left the visitors with too much to do.
Defeat for the Tahs gave the Rebels the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Australian Conference and they did just that as Reece Hodge claimed a hat-trick in a 42-15 thrashing of the Sunwolves.
Hodge crossed twice in the opening quarter and claimed a third try on the hour mark. Bill Meakes, Quade Cooper and Will Genia also went over for the hosts at AAMI Park, with Semisi Masirewa's brace for the Sunwolves proving in vain.
Saturday's opening fixture saw the Brumbies excel for 40 minutes against the Crusaders and take a 7-0 lead into the interval.
However, the New Zealand Conference leaders dominated the second period, running in five tries - including two apiece for Sevu Reece and Will Jordan - to triumph 36-14.