Israel Folau hat-trick seals play-off place for rampant NSW Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs will be in the Super Rugby playoffs after a hat-trick of tries from full-back Israel Folau helped secure a 58-33 thrashing of South Africa's Cheetahs.
The Waratahs moved to the top of the Australian conference after the bonus-point win and lead the ACT Brumbies by virtue of having more victories in this year's competition with both teams on 47 points from 15 matches.
Even if they are pipped to top-spot by the Brumbies in the final round of league matches next weekend, the Sydney-based side will not finish lower than sixth in the Super Rugby table, which is enough to secure their passage to the knockout stages.
The Waratahs ran in nine tries against the worst defence in the competition with Folau leading the way with his three scores.
Foley converted five of those scores and kicked a penalty.
The Cheetahs played their usual attacking game as Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks and centre Francois Venter grabbed a brace of tries each to go with a score from flank Boom Prinsloo from a driving maul.
Fullback Coenie van Wyk kicked three conversions and fly-half Daniel Marais another.