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Rugby’s a tough game. Stop playing well for a few minutes, and you risk letting a match slip away.
That’s what happened last Saturday against the Crusaders. Our first 30 minutes in Christchurch was great. We were playing really good footy against a really good side, but then just stopped for a short time and let them back into the game.
The biggest focus this week is going to be rectifying that ten-minute period before halftime, when the team just stopped playing.
There wasn’t any particular reason for that – we just stopped. There are flows through the game and a little bit of lost focus cost us. That’s something we’ll improve through the rest of the season.
Being back at home is something to look forward to – playing in front of local fans is always a highlight.
That said, it’s not always the difference between winning and losing. You play on the same sized field every week, but it’s nice to be back home this week.
Just like we’re working on being more consistent and playing the full 80 minutes as a team, that’s something I’m training to improve in my own game; ironing out the little kinks which appear a couple of times a match.
The step up to Super Rugby level is a big one, so working on things like my tackling and ball-running is important. While my off-the-ball game is probably my main strength, I do like to get my hand on the ball and go for a run, and that’s something I need to get better at.
It’s been a busy last year for me. I had a stint with the Rebels in 2017, which is hard to compare to the environment up here with the Tahs. I think I was a little bit homesick down there, and it was pretty tough compared to here.
I still miss home – which for me is Berry in country New South Wales – but I can go back once a week on a day off. I don’t miss the driving sessions I used to do when I was still living down there last year. It was exhausting.
But now it’s great to have signed a contract extension with the Waratahs. It’s the club I have always wanted to be a part of, and it’s exciting to play for another year and help the side be as successful as possible.
There are plenty of guys the squad to learn from, and one player worth mentioning in particular is Michael Hooper. He’s someone that doesn’t put a foot wrong, so it’s good to watch him and pick his brain every now and then.
He’s obviously an exceptional player and I get to train against and with him to help me become a better player. To play and learn from the best seven in Australia is a pretty good experience for my rugby.
Michael’s renowned as a relentless player on the field, and that’s what he’s like when you go up against him on the training paddock. He doesn’t stop, he just keeps going, and he wants to win all the time, so it’s an excellent attitude to have for the team.
As a whole, the team is feeling really good at the moment. We might have had a few losses recently, but the start of season was strong and everyone knows we’re close to playing good footy. An extra five or ten per cent on the field and the results will take care of themselves.
As for this week against the Highlanders, the team is confident. We’re confident every time we go into a game no matter who we’re up against. But with the results the last two weeks the boys are really up for it.
The Waratahs will go up against the Highlanders this weekend with a chance to break Australia’s long-running Super Rugby drought against trans-Tasman opposition, so be sure to grab a NSW Waratahs home ticket and get down to Allianz Stadium to enjoy all the action.