Ashley-Cooper urges Waratahs to lift

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Former Brumbies back Adam Ashley-Cooper says his Waratahs side must treat Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with his old side in Canberra like it is the most important game they will ever play.

The Brumbies lead the overall table and Australian Conference with two wins and a bye and are five points ahead of NSW.

The Waratahs have traditionally found wins in the national capital hard to come by and barely raised a whimper in a tepid performance in their loss in Canberra last season.

“We have to really turn up on the night,” Ashley-Cooper told AAP.

“We didn’t do it last year when we were down there. We were very quiet and they shut us out.

“We can’t give them any chances, we can’t allow them into the game.

“We have to go down there with a real focus that this is the most important game that we’re ever going to play.”

Ashley-Cooper backed the style of play favoured by new coach Michael Cheika and said it suited the skill and ability of the squad.

“It’s something that I think is certainly needed to compete at the top level,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“It’s an upbeat approach and it’s also a tough physical approach. Cheik has certainly changed the mindset in a few areas, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much he can do.

“It’s up to the players.”

Wallabies utility Ashley-Cooper has started the season at outside centre, a position many pundits believe is his best.

While he would love to stay in one position, Ashley-Cooper was cheerfully resigned to circumstances dictating otherwise.

“In a perfect world I’d love to stay in the one position, because that gives you a chance to build your performance week to week and really focus on that one position,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“But in reality it’s a 16-game competition and it’s a tough competition.

“It’s physically demanding. There’s injuries and I would assume there would be rotation to preserve the recovery and freshness of players.

“So with that I could expect to be moved. But it hasn’t troubled me in the past and I wouldn’t have a problem with that.”

© AAP 2014
What a year 2014 has been in rugby! From the highs of the Waratahs winning the Super Rugby title, to the lows of the infamous saga that swamped our national team. What are your reflections on the year that was? What's on your Christmas wishlist for next year? If you're feeling inspired, you can share it with other Roarers by submitting an article.
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