Former Tonga rugby league international John Folau is following his older brother Israel into rugby union and will join him at Super Rugby club NSW Waratahs in 2019.
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Tom Robertson isn’t worried the NSW Waratahs could again struggle to beat teams from other conferences in the Super Rugby finals, as they target a historic sweep of the Australian section.
A win over the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium on Saturday would give the Tahs a unique home and away double over all four teams in the Australian conference.
That statistic is focusing them on the game rather than the distraction of an imminent finals campaign, their first in three years.
“That’s a goal that we can achieve this weekend this week rather than looking at things that could happen in two or three weeks time,” prop Robertson said.
As impressive as their 7-0 Australian conference record is, the fact remains they logged two wins, a draw and five losses from matches against teams from overseas.
“I think in a couple of those games, if you look at them, we lost to the Crusaders by three, we lost to the Blues by two,” Robertson said.
“The Chiefs, we were up 14-0 after 20 minutes, so we know that in patches we can beat any team on our day.
“I think it’s more about putting in that 80-minute performance and then we know as a team, you look at our backline, we’ve got the best backline in the comp.
“If we get them clean ball, I’m quite confident we’ll beat any team in the comp.”
Talks continue among the SANZAAR partners about the controversial competition format.
The conference system and finals format remains confusing, even to some of the players, who believe a return to the competition’s original round robin format would be fairer.
“It’s probably not my place to say about all the travel because it’s obviously pretty expensive,” Robertson said.
“But I’d love to see that you play everyone once. You get one shot unless you pay them in the finals, that would make it much more even.
“But you obviously get more TV with the derbies.
“But from a playing perspective, that’s the ideal comp. You play everyone once and then you pick your top eight or whatever going into the finals.
“That would be a lot simpler, I think.”
Robertson is convinced more rest during their campaign after being flogged in the pre-season is paying off big time for the fresher Waratahs.
“This is the best I’ve felt in terms of the later parts of the year,” he said.