Cape Town - The Waratahs jumped quickly out of the blocks to post a big early lead
before grinding out a 29-17 win over the Lions in Parramatta, New South Wales on Friday.
The hosts skipped out to a 19-3 lead midway through the opening half after tries to Gus Bell, Lachlan Swinton and Jack Dempsey.
But the men from Johannesburg fought back to trail 19-10 at half-time after a converted try by Marnus Schoeman.
Both teams were down a player in the first half with lock Ruben Schoeman yellow-carded for striking in a maul before Swinton was sin-binned for a shoulder charge.
The Waratahs also lost their skipper and experienced Wallaby lock Rob Simmons with an ankle injury nearing half-time.
The home side increased their lead to 24-10 with a spectacular try from James Ramm, who dived over in the corner after the ball shot through eight pairs of hands from a turnover on halfway.
But the Lions kept in touch with Schoeman's second try before the Waratahs clinched a bonus-point win with a try to Tetera Faulkner in the final minutes.
"Great win and a confidence-booster for us, it's been a tough few weeks for us, but it was really important to come out and get a win in front of our home fans," the Waratahs' Wallaby back Kurtley Beale said.
Lions skipper Elton Jantjies said his team recovered well from conceding three early tries.
"We gave ourselves a chance by just staying in the game but critically a few stupid penalties went against us towards the end," he said.
Next weekend, the Lions will play their second match on tour against the Rebels in Melbourne (Saturday, March 7), while the Waratahs host the Chiefs in Wollongong (Friday, March 6).
Tries: Gus Bell, Lachlan Swinton, Jack Dempsey, James Ramm, Tetera Faulkner
Conversions: Will Harrison (2)
Tries: Marnus Schoeman (2)
Conversions: Andries Coetzee, Elton Jantjies
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Alex Newsome, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Jack Maddocks, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Angus Bell
Substitutes: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Tetera Daulkner, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Ryan McCauley, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 James Ramm
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jan-Hemming Campher, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Morne van den Berg, 23 Wandisile Simelane