Both teams scored four tries at Emirates Airline Park.
On a weekend when their South African Conference rivals – the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks and Jaguares – all failed to win, it was the Highvelders who managed to register a vital victory, which allowed them to move away from the foot of the table into fourth place, above the DHL Stormers, who were not in action this weekend.
The opening half was a fast, open affair with several missed tackles which led to three tries by both sides. The Waratahs converted all three of their tries which saw them go into halftime with a two-point advantage at 21-19.
The teams scored one try piece in the second half but it was a successful penalty goal by the Emirates Lions’ replacement back Shaun Reynolds that handed the Highvelders a crucial one-point advantage in the end.
NSW scrumhalf Nick Phipps opened the scoring for the visitors and he was followed by Michael Hooper and Rob Simmons, with Bernard Foley slotting all three conversion kicks.
Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi grabbed the home team’s first try, while Stephan Lewies and Kwagga Smith also went over for two more home tries.
After the break, Springbok wing Courtnall Skosan scored from a sweeping move while Tom Staniforth crashed over for the Waratahs’ fourth try of the afternoon.
The home team, with regular captain and No 8 Warren Whiteley back in the starting line-up, have now won their last five meetings with NSW. Saturday’s victory saw them move to fourth place on the local log with 26 points from 11 games and six wins.
The Emirates Lions host the Highlanders next Saturday while the Waratahs now travel to Brisbane for their Australian derby with the Reds.
Emirates Lions 29 (19) – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi, Stephan Lewies, Kwagga Smith, Courtnall Skosan; Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3); Penalty goal: Shaun Reynolds.
Waratahs 28 (21) – Tries Nick Phipps, Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons, Tom Staniforth; Conversions: Bernard Foley (4).