NSW acting captain Benn Robinson has suggested the unchanged Waratahs will target some of the Western Force’s team leaders in their crucial Super Rugby Australian derby in Perth on Friday.
The Waratahs are third in the Australian conference, level on points with Queensland and two behind the pacesetting Brumbies, despite an unimpressive 2-4 record.
The Force are last of the five teams in the Australian conference, but are only seven points behind the Brumbies and have a four-point bye in hand over the leaders.
NSW are coming off a bye and keen to beat a Force side that knocked them off in Sydney last month and who will be playing the third of four successive home games.
Prop Robinson regarded quelling the influence of Force captain and flanker David Pocock and his predecessor as skipper Nathan Sharpe as critical to the Waratahs’ victory prospects on Friday.
“Its well known that they have a strong back row Pocock and (Richard) Brown and (second rower) Sharpey have been there for many years now,” Robinson said on Wednesday.
“They are the leaders of the side and if you have a good crack at those guys and you take them out of the game you are going to go a long ways (towards beating them).”
Robinson revealed the Waratahs had also been working on their highly regarded scrum.
“They (the Force) scrummaged well against the Chiefs last week, a few penalties went their way so we’re definitely wary of them,” Robinson said.
“That’s an area as a front rower you like to be dominant in.
“We’ve done a bit of work this week. We had some live scrummaging yesterday to make sure we’re on top of our game.
“I think our scrum has been slowly progressing. We’re getting some results every now and then, but for us I think it’s about getting more results.”
Coach Michael Foley named the same side for the third straight game despite the Waratahs losing to the Highlanders in their most recent match.
“It took a number of weeks to get this 22 together,” Foley said.
Robinson viewed the unchanged lineup as a vote of confidence in the players.
“I think combinations have been working well with certain players in recent weeks,” Robinson said.
“I think it’s a good sign of the confidence shown in the players from Foles.”