Let NSW legends inspire the current Waratahs from the wall

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson and captain Michael Hooper haven’t produced must inspiration, pride, and passion into their side this season.

    Three wins from ten starts isn’t the Waratah way.

    Gibson can be innovative for once by producing life-sized action posters of Jon White, Peter Johnson, Ewen McKenzie, Rob Heming, Steve Cutler, Simon Poidevin, Matt Burke, and Dick Tooth to remind the current crop they are letting down the coveted light blue jersey with a Waratah over the heart.

    There are plenty of others that should also be up there; Greg Cornelsen, Phil Waugh, Tim Gavin, Ken Catchpole, Nick Farr-Jones, and Mark Ella are a few. I’d also add Phil Hawthorne, Michael O’Connor, Michael Hawker, John Brass, Trevor Allan and David Campese.

    If that doesn’t inspire the Waratahs to win their last five games to qualify for the Super Rugby finals, then they don’t deserve to wear the jersey.

    It’s a big ask, but the troops are there to do the job if they play to their ability that has so far been left in the shed.

    They’ve become known as the second-half side.

    Down 25-6 to the Rebels at halftime, the Tahs won 32-25

    Down 26-0 to the Blues at halftime, the Waratahs lost 40-33, ‘winning’ the second half 33-14.

    But there’s also been the reverse, leading the Kings 17-0, only to lose 26-24.

    What a load of rubbish, where rugby basics – passing, catching, supporting, retaining possession, and tackling – have been ignored.

    I’m sick of writing it, Roarers are sick of reading it, and the Waratahs still can’t click.

    Which begs the question, how can such talent in being selected, not able to handle the rugby basics?

    If those posters can’t click the current crop into gear, heaven help the Wallabies.

    The cold, hard facts are the Brumbies lead the Australian conference, with 19 points, from the Reds (16), and Waratahs (14).

    But the Resd have only four games to complete their season, and can’t win the conference with its automatic qualification into the final series.

    The Brumbies face two mighty tough games in a fortnight, with the Kings in Port Elizabeth, and the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

    It’s 10,389 kms from Canberra to Port Elizabeth, in 13 hours, 24 minutes flying time, then 7460 kms from the South African city to Buenos Aires, in 11 hours, 11 minutes. Add another 11,710 kms from Buenos Aires to Canberra, taking 19 hours, 20 minutes.

    All up that’s 29556 kms and 43 hours, 55 minutes in the air – plus training sessions and 160 minutes of demanding rugby. It’s a recipe for two defeats, and the possibility of a third loss, to the Rebels, on return.

    That would leave the Brumbies on 19 points, while the Waratahs with the legends looking over them face the Rebels at Allianz, the Highlanders in Dunedin, and the Chiefs in Waikato – needing to win all three.

    The latter two would break the Australian drought of 17 losses in 17 games against Kiwi sides this season, but it has to be done, getting NSW to 26 points.

    The Brumbies compete their scheduled rounds with the Reds at Suncorp, and the Chiefs at Waikato, which translates to four of their five remaining games away.

    The Waratahs complete their scheduled rounds with the Jaguares at Allianz, and the Force in Perth, a far easier challenge.

    But it’s only far easier if the run of Ls become a run of Ws – nothing else counts.

    And those NSW legends on the wall will have done their job as they did in their playing days.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles