We tended to go to sleep
The Waratahs head for South Africa on Saturday in a buoyant mood after their impressive demolition of the Rebels on Friday.
Israel Folau scored a double and Kurtley Beale ran the show as the Waratahs claimed a 32-8 bonus-point Super Rugby win over the Rebels.
Now they head across the Indian Ocean for a two-match tour that will see them take on the table-topping Sharks in Durban next Saturday and the Stormers in Cape Town a week later.
"It will be a very big challenge," Beale said of the trip to the Republic.
"It's always tough to go to South Africa.
"We just have to recover and think about it on the plane," Beale said.
It was a bitter defeat for Rebels captain Higginbotham, whose team now face the Brumbies in another Australian derby in Melbourne next week.
"They defended well and we worked hard and we kept getting into their quarter but we let ourselves down and let them off the hook," he said.
"Our defence is good for the most part, but we tended to go to sleep and they attacked with pace and scored points."
Wallaby fullback Folau has now scored eight tries in four matches in this year's Super Rugby competition and he owed both his tries Friday to Beale's playmaking skills.
Beale, who returned to the Waratahs this year from a stint at the Rebels, made the initial line breaks and had the athletic Folau backing up on his outside both times for tries.
The win over the Rebels lifted the Waratahs to the top of the Australian conference ahead of the Brumbies' home match with South Africa's Stormers in Canberra on Saturday.