Jump to content

Waratahs believe block of matches against New Zealand opposition helped

Recommended Posts

IT was meant to be the month from hell — but a month long block of matches against New Zealand opposition could in fact prove to be the springboard for the Waratahs in 2018.

The Waratahs ended Australia’s nightmare two-year drought against New Zealand Super Rugby opposition on Saturday night by smashing the Highlanders 41-12 in Sydney to snap a 40 match losing streak.

The victory came on the back of two narrow losses against the Blues (24-21) and Crusaders (31-29) in successive weeks, which the Waratahs threatened to win but failed to land the killer blow.

But there was no denying the Waratahs third time round, as they took advantage of a red card to Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura in the 19th minute to run the Dunedin-based side ragged and record a six tries to two win.

“I think we just went out there with the macro elements,” Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick said.

“Just the intent to go and finish the job because I don’t think Australian teams were far off the ball in terms of the way we played the game tactically or technically.

“I think there was just a mindset that we just needed to go out there with intent and do whatever it takes to win the game, and if that was going to be winning the game through a scrap, so be it, but we were able to put some nice shape together.”

The bonus point win saw the Waratahs (31) extend their lead over the Rebels (25) at the top of the Australian conference.

They will now travel across the ditch to face the Chiefs in Waikato, who are returning from their two-match tour of South Africa which finished with a narrow 28-24 loss to the Sharks in Durban.

While the block of four straight matches against New Zealand opposition loomed as a make or break month for NSW, Fitzpatrick said he had found it beneficial to play them over consecutive weeks.

“I think it does (help to play them over the course of a month),” Fitzpatrick said.

“They play incredibly similar, don’t they?

“Particularly from a scrummaging point of view, I feel that they all scrum very similar, they want to keep the ball alive, so they’re not keeping the ball at the back of the scrum like some of the South African teams tend to do, so the way that we prepare is pretty similar.

“So having them in a block, I think has been beneficial. Other guys mightn’t like that, they might like to change it up, but personally I’ve found it pretty good.”

Indeed, one of the reasons why the Kiwi sides scrummage similarly is because of their centralised system, which dictates that they are taught the same way at every level of the game so that when players are selected for the All Blacks they aren’t being taught new styles.

More than just the similarity in styles, Waratahs winger Cameron Clark said the side had viewed the challenging stretch of matches as an opportunity to make an impression.

“Four Kiwi teams back to back. We knew it was going to be some really tough footy, but a really exciting and big opportunity for us,” Clark said.

“Didn’t quite get there the last couple, but we got there tonight so I think it was a step in the right direction and we’ll go over to New Zealand again next week and take on the Chiefs, which everyone knows will be another tough match for us.”

Fitzpatrick added that while the Waratahs’ morale and confidence would be boosted by the big win over the Highlanders, they wouldn’t rest on their laurels ahead of their final match against Kiwi opposition in the regular season.

“It’s very easy to be critical after losses, but I think it’s even easier to be critical after a win,” he said.

“Guys can come in upbeat, but we understand that it’s not perfect so we can be brought back to Earth.

“Guys understand that we’re still not probably where we want to be and if we want to be really competitive in this competition towards the back end if the season we need to fix up some things, so we’ll just get back to the drawing board and put a plan in place for the Chiefs.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.