RugbyU: Waratahs finish strongly to down Rebels

The New South Wales Waratahs stormed home from a 10-point half-time deficit to beat the Melbourne Rebels 31-26 to open their Super 15 season account in Sydney on Friday.

The Waratahs swept to victory with 25 points in the second half, with tries to fly-half Bernard Foley, openside flanker Michael Hooper and prop Paddy Ryan.

Scrum-half Brendan McKibbin kicked four penalties and two conversions to seal the Waratahs' win after their opening 25-17 loss to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane last week.

Wallaby back Kurtley Beale, playing with a shoulder injury, grabbed a losing bonus point for the Rebels with a try in the final minute after hooker Ged Robinson scored off a rehearsed lineout move in the first half.

It was the Waratahs' fifth win over the Rebels with the Melbourne outfit yet to beat the NSW team in Super Rugby.

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said his team had recovered after an undisciplined first half.

"We fought back well in the second half. We made it hard on ourselves early on but we kept playing in the second half which was a bit different to last week," Dennis said.

"Our discipline let us down in the first half, we let them in the game too easy with too much field position and we played a lot of football in our own half."

Wallaby James O'Connor kicked the Rebels to a 16-6 half-time lead with three penalties and a conversion after Robinson scored a well-worked try off a lineout close to the Waratahs line in the 26th minute.

It was a much improved Waratahs performance in the second half with rugby league convert Israel Folau featuring in tries by Foley and Hooper, before replacement prop Ryan broke two tackles to score five minutes from the end for a 31-19 lead.

Substitute Ben Volavola helped sparked the revival with Folau moving to the right wing.

Beale got a bonus point for the Rebels when he speared through an opening to score near the posts in the last minute.

The Waratahs face the unbeaten ACT Brumbies in Canberra next week while the Rebels host the Queensland Reds in Melbourne.