Waratahs ready to rumble against Chiefs
NSW Waratahs prepare to go down with all guns blazing when they take on the Chiefs for a place in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals on Saturday.
Having already exceeded most people’s expectations under new coach Darren Coleman after last year’s winless season, the Waratahs feel they have little to lose in the FMG Stadium clash. Waikato.
“We set a goal to start at the start of the year to do the eight and we comfortably did that,” skipper Jake Gordon said on Friday.
“Then we were aiming for the top four and we probably haven’t finished the last few games well enough to get there, but we’re now in a position where we think we can beat the Kiwis.
“We don’t come here to see if we can when, we come here with a mindset that we’re going to come away with a win.”
Gordon said the Waratahs felt Fijian Drua revealed a few flaws in the Chiefs’ final round as the New Zealanders raced to a one-point win over the competition’s debutants.
“They played an interesting game last week against the Fijians. We think the Fijians played very well and showed a bit how we want to play as well,” the Wallabies halfback said.
“If the weather is good we want to get in shape and play football very quickly and we feel like when we do that we play very well.
“But we also know the Chiefs at home are a different beast and they’re going to be very competitive.”
NSW’s 51-27 loss to the Chiefs last month was the Waratahs’ worst result against a Kiwi opponent after being forced to play with 13 men following a red and yellow card for a time and also have lost the two prostitutes to injuries.
But in all four games they beat the Crusaders and Highlanders and their biggest margin of loss was four points.
Since the start of Super Rugby in 1996, the Waratahs have not won an away final in six attempts.
Gordon is one of six current players who were part of the 2018 squad that took a 14-0 lead against the Lions in Johannesburg before being passed 44-26.
The half-back said there are lessons to be learned from this defeat and in the 2022 season they could qualify for the quarter-finals.
“It’s been part of this year that we probably haven’t closed games well enough and even that game in Jo’burg, when they recovered and put a number of points on us,” Gordon said.
“Starting the game is really important for us and trying to keep the momentum going, and also finishing well.”