Saturday evenings record-breaking victory over the Crusaders stands as an embodiment of the challenges the Waratahs have faced since their 2014 Championship season.
A question mark surrounds Kurtley Beale’s availability for the NSW Waratahs game against the Jaguares next weekend after he suffered a rib injury in their 24-24 Super Rugby draw with the Sharks.
Beale didn’t play the second half of the game in Durban but wasn’t immediately ruled out of the second leg of their international trip.
The Wallabies back will travel to Argentina and be assessed during the week in the lead-up to the game in Buenos Aires next Sunday morning (AEDT).
NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson praised the fight in his side but slammed them for a poor performance after they produced a barnstorming finish for a second straight week.
NSW led 7-0 after an early converted try to starting half back Jake Gordon but the visitors twice trailed by seven in the second half.
Both teams scored three tries in a scrappy, mistake-marred match on Sunday morning (AEDT) in which neither side ever led by more than seven points.
A 76th-minute try to replacement halfback and debutant Mitch Short from a devastating long range counter-attack, followed by a sideline conversion from five-eighth Bernard Foley earned NSW the draw.
Gibson acknowledged their scrum came under pressure in the second half but felt his tight five did an excellent job.
However, he was unhappy with the Tahs’ overall performance.
“I thought we were pretty poor tonight, to be frank,” Gibson said.
“At times we lacked ball control, we turned the ball over too much and put a lot of pressure on ourselves.
“We’re not walking away rejoicing at all. We looked at our own performance and had a pretty honest assessment in the changing room and probably know that we need to get much better if we’re going to be competitive in this competition.”
NSW scored at the death to beat the Stormers in their opening game last week and again showed good fitness and resilience following their sloppy execution through the match.
“What I am pleased about with the team is around the fight in our team, we don’t give up,” Gibson said.
The Sharks dominated territory and possession in the first half but were held to 10-10 at the break.
Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am’s second try pushed them ahead but impressive Tahs captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper then scored a long-distance try from a turnover.
Five-eight Robert Du Preez raced over 40m to restore the home team’s lead but Short and Foley earned NSW a share of the spoils.
“We we were able to create a lot and then we seemed to stuff up,” Hooper said.
“We can be a lot better.”