Tahs: We want to put pride back in jersey


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    Starting faster and defending better are key goals for the NSW Waratahs as they enter the new Super Rugby season determined to put pride back in their jersey and home record.

    The Tahs start their campaign on Saturday at home to South Africa’s Stormers, who won their opening game against the Jaguares last week.

    The new-look squad and coach Daryl Gibson will be under plenty of scrutiny with NSW failing to make the finals for the past two years.

    Too often last year they were in chase mode after conceding a rush of early points.

    “We spoke all pre-season about working hard and working for each other and restoring the pride in the NSW jersey that maybe lacked a little bit in the last couple of seasons,” five-eighth Bernard Foley said.

    “We don’t expect everything to gel straight away, we don’t expect the perfect 80-minute game but if we can show the right intent throughout the whole game then we should be in good stead.

    “Last year probably our starts let us down and defensively, so that’s been a focus for us.

    “We want to start with some great intensity and then try and maintain that throughout the whole game.”

    NSW are intent on turning around their home ground issues after winning just two of seven games last year and going 4-4 the previous season.

    “When we’ve had good seasons here, we’ve made this a real hostile ground for oppositions and I think that’s what we have to go back to, we have to try and make this a formidable ground for us,” Foley said.

    While anticipating physical setpiece play and and rush defence from the Stormers and a speedy back three, Foley was impressed by their 19-year-old rookie five-eighth Damian Willemse.

    “He’s been really good, he’s not afraid to chance his hand and run from deep and he’s got a really good strong skill set,”” Foley said.

    “They defend up in your face, they try and defend the width of the field and make you try and do something different, so we’ve spoken about different tactics.”

    A smart kicking game is sure to be one option for a Tahs team featuring four debutants in Wallabies Rob Simmons and Curtis Rona, former Brumbies lock Tom Staniforth and ex-Rebels centre Lalakai Foketi.

    Saturday will mark the first time Foley has played a Tahs season opener for three years.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • February 24th 2018 @ 7:52am
      John R said | February 24th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Marto, haven’t had a chance to read, but saw the headline and thought of you xx

    • February 24th 2018 @ 9:42am
      Ray said | February 24th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      Just love the opening line, ”Starting faster and defending better are key goals for the NSW Waratahs” – are they not elementary skills that go without saying?

    • February 24th 2018 @ 10:52am
      Stu B said | February 24th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

      Put pride back in the jersey? thats easy , do what you are paid to do, play rugby to a super rugby standard.If not sure what this is watch the Highlanders v Blues season opener.

    • February 24th 2018 @ 11:12am
      Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | February 24th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      It looks like the agony for me and other Tah fans is all set to continue. Its great to be as fit as a fiddle and have a back line of Tahs, but if we dont get our hands on enough clean ball……….. Gibbo seems to have taken his eye of the ball when it came to recruiting serious beef for our forwards.

      • Roar Guru

        February 24th 2018 @ 1:34pm
        jeznez said | February 24th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Yep – this looks like probably the worst Waratahs pack I have seen in all my years of supporting the side.

        The fact I’d consider taking Baxter and Dunning over Ryan and Robertson really says it all. The quality of the pack after Hooper and Simmons really drops away. And Simmons isn’t the lock you can build play off – he is the set piece and defensive support guy.

        Was reading some of the quotes from a Ned Hanigan interview – he was talking about winning collisions and “napalming everything” I think someone has been blowing smoke up his @*$3 for him to think that is really part of his game. He needs to develop the strength to be able to deliver that – so it is a great aspirational goal but the interview I was reading implied he thinks it is already part of his play.

        Will be tuning in this arvo hoping they can put some egg on my face

        • February 24th 2018 @ 3:56pm
          Ed said | February 24th 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

          They are “clear favourites” according to the SMH’s preview today.

          And from the SMH earlier this week:
          “Captain Michael Hooper and lock Rob Simmons are expected to lead from the front as the most experienced players by some way, while Hanigan and seasoned front row operators Tom Robertson, Paddy Ryan and Damian Fitzpatrick will also have much to offer.”
          I will give Hooper busts his guts for whichever team he plays for. It was a pity many of his teammates in blue last year didn’t appear to care as much.

          Do the two SMH reporters feel they have to write almost propaganda for the Tahs to retain their access?

    • February 24th 2018 @ 11:51am
      Malo said | February 24th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

      No Poteiger no glory

    • February 24th 2018 @ 2:44pm
      Malo said | February 24th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

      The Randwick connection. Robertson and Hanigan have to be the two biggest comedy acts to put on a wallaby jersey. They will get to 100 tests.

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