Brumbies won’t choke vs Waratahs: White
Brumbies coach Jake White says if the Australian conference leaders were going to choke, they would have choked already as they look to beat NSW on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium and tie down a Super Rugby finals berth.
The Waratahs have turned up the heat on their local rivals, expressing their desire to upset the Brumbies’ party and making it clear all the pressure is on the boys from Canberra.
However, White said his underrated team were written off before a ball was even kicked this season and they’re not worried about stumbling at the final hurdle.
“A lot of people said ‘they’re running ahead of themselves, it won’t last’. Now we’re two weeks out from the end of the tournament in terms of the round-robin games and we’re still top of our pool,” White said after his team arrived in Sydney on Friday.
“It’s all about momentum and form and confidence and we’re not lacking any of those things heading into these last two rounds.”
The Brumbies have a horrific record in Sydney, winning just once in the past 16 years, and they come up against an attack-minded Waratahs side with nothing to lose and Bernard Foley and Berrick Barnes selected as front-line playmakers.
However, the Brumbies have already conquered some other psychological hurdles in South Africa and New Zealand this year and White said Sydney holds no fear.
“The reality is we’ve beaten the Waratahs already … If we do (what we’ve got to do), there’s no reason why we won’t get a result,” he said.
“They’ve broken every single hoodoo and misconception.”
White said the Waratahs would get a boost from the news their coach Michael Foley has been endorsed to stay on next season.
However, he warned that could all change in a flash if the players don’t produce the goods.
“It’s fantastic they’ve backed him but 80 minutes changes a lot of things,” White said.
NSW captain Benn Robinson says Foley’s endorsement by the board was a relief.
“I’m very glad that’s happened … I think the last few weeks a few of the players might have been a bit worried about what’s been happening,” he said.
Robinson, who is preparing for his 100th match for NSW, believes there’s plenty riding on the Wallaby-heavy front-row battle against the Brumbies.
The Waratahs trio of Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kepu were preferred over Brumbies Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander in Australia’s 3-0 Test series triumph over Wales last month.
Although Kepu has been ruled out with a calf strain and replaced by Paddy Ryan, White said his front row would be keen to prove they’re not “second level Wallabies”.
“I don’t think they’d be too happy being touted as a second-tier group but, at the same time, they need to work hard to make sure they’re the incumbents,” White said.© AAP 2013
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