The NSW Waratahs are urging fairweather fans to come out and support their new-era Super Rugby Pacific team.
After opening the season with a 40-10 shellacking of competition newcomers Fijian Drua, the Waratahs face a test of their character and credentials against reigning Super Rugby AU champions Queensland on Friday night.
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A dismal week of rain in Sydney threatens to scare off spectators but another grim forecast certainly hasn’t dampened expectations within the NSW ranks following last year’s winless campaign.
Unbeaten in three trial games before taming the Drua, the Waratahs hope 2022 marks an exciting new start under first-year coach Darren Coleman.
“They definitely deserve to have a good crowd. They have to date – in three trials and Round 1 – played with commitment,” Coleman said after Thursday’s captain’s run.
“Yeah, sure, we could be executing a little better but every team can.
“But I know if you come and watch them, they’ll rip in. They’ll make you proud to be a supporter.
“And if we keep doing that week in, week out, people will start respecting us and potentially some of the results and the stench that was around the organisation or whatever it may have been in the past will start to wash away.
“People will start being fans again and that’s all we can ask.”
The Reds showdown marks the start of five home games for the Waratahs at Leichhardt Oval, the spiritual burial ground of the NRL’s Wests Tigers.
Coleman wants to make it a “fortress” for the Tahs and hope there’s a big roll up on Friday night.
“The weather’s a bit of a bummer but you never know. If the afternoon clears up, NSW people who are thinking of coming might find it a good attraction to them,” he said.
“We can’t have done too much more in the pre-season if someone wants to get on us.
“But obviously another good performance and hopefully a win will get some of the fairweather sailors out after (this round).”