South African scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius starred for his new team the Waratahs as they dismantled Tonga A in their Sydney Football Stadium on Friday, cruising to a comprehensive 52-0 victory.
Man of the match Pretorius got the first try of the game when he nipped over early on, and although the Tongans played with plenty of determination they battled to contain the Sydney side who were never really under threat.
Dave Dennis crashed over next to the poles for the second try, and that was followed up by five-pointers from outside centre Rob Horne and right wing Tom Kingston as the home team put in a solid four-try performance in the first half to take a commanding 26-0 lead into the break.
Flyhalf Berrick Barnes left the field after 30 minutes with a tender groin that he hurt kicking at goal, although it seemed to have been a precautionary measure as the Waratahs expect him to be fit to take on the champion Reds in their Super Rugby opener next week.
After a full 40-minute first half, the second period was played in three, 20-minute periods and it was largely the same team that returned to the field, bar Palu and Kingston who were replaced by Lopeti Timani and Nathan Trist.
A try from hooker Damien Fitzpatrick, converted by Daniel Halangahu extended the home side's lead to 33-0 on 45 minutes and replacements Brendan McKibbin, John Ulugia and Michael Hodge kept the Waratahs on the attack for most of the second period.
The third period saw the remainder of the second XV take to the field. Jeremy Tilse retained control at the back of a driving maul to crash over after 78 minutes, leaving Halangahu to add his second conversion to extend the lead to 40 after 80 minutes.
In the final period, Chris Alcock sliced through midfield for his first of the night and with Halangahu replaced, wing Nathan Trist took over the kicking duties, successfully adding to the tally, before wing Peter Betham capped off a successful evening diving over in the left corner for his team's eighth try.
Waratahs head coach Michael Foley commented: "These two trial matches have given us an opportunity to test the things we've been practicing over the last 14 to 15 weeks, an opportunity to look at combinations and a good understanding of where we're at.
"There were some good individual performances and we played well as a team at times. Sometimes one or two choices let us down and those are the things that we will work on going forward," he added.
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Pretorius, Dennis, Horne, Kingston, Fitzpatrick, Tilse, Alcock, Betham
Cons: Barnes 3, Halangahu 2, Trist
Waratahs (first half): 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Brackin Karauria-Henry, 10 Berrick Barnes (captain), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Benn Robinson.
Waratahs (second half): 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Nathan Trist, 13 Michael Hodge, 12 Toby Browne, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Daniel Halangahu (captain), 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Tevita Metuisela, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Richard Stanford, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia , 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements - from: Hugh Roach, Lotu Taukeiaho, Liam Winton, Seilala Lam, Grayson Hart, Jesse Leota, 22 Tom Hill.
Tonga: Not announced
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
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