Waratahs spurred by Folau feat
Israel Folau scored a hat-trick as the Waratahs ended a three-match losing streak to the Cheetahs with a 58-33 bonus point victory in Bloemfontein.
The win moved the Tahs back into Super Rugby's top three and the top spot in the Australian conference, with the Brumbies pushed into the wildcard places in the overall standings.
Matt Carraro, who scored twice, Michael Hooper, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Bernard Foley also notched tries for the free-flowing Waratahs while Francois Venter and Cornal Hendricks, each with two tries, and Boom Prinsloo went over for the Cheetahs.
Folau opened the scoring with a try for the Waratahs after a quick start but Foley was unable to add the conversion.
Three minutes later the visitors had touched down again, this time through Hooper, after the ball was moved quickly causing the Cheetahs to be stretched. Foley took the conversion and added the points as the Tahs moved into a 12-0 lead.
The Cheetahs hit back quickly though, when Hendricks raced down the wing and passed to Rayno Benjamin, who offloaded to Venter who scored. Coenie van Wyk added the extras.
The Waratahs were playing an open game but they were throwing the ball around a little too freely, allowing Hendricks to pick off an intercept and race for the tryline, Van Wyk converting the score.
The visitors were back ahead in the 18th minute when Carraro crossed following some quick hands, but Foley was again off target.
Approaching the half-hour mark and the game was still remarkably open, with the Cheetahs winning a penalty from the scrum which they kicked for touch. The hosts set up a maul from the lineout and drove over for another try, with flanker Prinsloo the scorer. Van Wyk slotted the conversion.
The Waratahs scored the bonus point-winning try shortly before the break when Folau broke two tackles and stumbled over the line to score. Foley missed his third kick of the game but he made amends before the half-time hooter as he did convert Naiyaravoro's score in the corner as the Tahs took a 29-21 lead at the interval.
Ashley-Cooper scored less than a minute after the restart when the Tahs won the ball back from the kick-off but Foley was unable to slot the conversion as his radar continued to stutter.
There was a reason to be cheerful for the Cheetahs, though, as they secured a bonus point of their own in the 54th minute when Hendricks chipped ahead, chased and collected the ball to touch down. Neil Marais had been handed kicking duties and duly added the conversion.
Folau then scored his hat-trick try at the other end, Foley adding the conversion this time, with Benjamin shown a yellow card for a trip on the Waratahs full-back.
Foley extended the visitors' lead with a penalty then a try of his own, which he converted from in front of the posts, before the Tahs stretched the Cheetahs again which allowed Carraro to go over for his second try of the game. Foley converted.
There was still time for one more score and it came for the Cheetahs, with Venter slipping over, although Marais was unable to add the extra two points.