Tough luck as Tahs stick to the plan
THE Waratahs have declared their hand – there will be no toning down their aggression despite the suspension of three key players in two weeks.
While discipline seems to be an issue, NSW halfback Nick Phipps countered that the team’s now trademark physicality cannot be compromised if they are to defend their Super Rugby title.
Tolu Latu, Will Skelton and now Rob Horne have all been suspended by the SANZAR judiciary in the past two weeks because of dangerous tackles, as the governing body clamps down on players lifting opponents beyond the horizontal position.
“It seems to be a very highlighted thing outside the team at the moment, but the reason we won last year was because of our physicality and our defence,” Phipps said from Johannesburg, where NSW were beaten 27-22 by the Lions last weekend after having Horne and Jacques Potgieter sin-binned for dangerous play.
“The semi-final and final last year, they weren’t won with the finesse and flair of the regular season games.’’
Waratahs utility Jono Lance last night flew to South Africa to join the NSW touring squad, with the plan to come off the bench this weekend when they play the Cheetahs.
NSW are chasing successive home semi-finals.
Two bonus point wins in their remaining games against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and Queensland in Sydney will guarantee that happens.
Breathing down NSW’s necks are the Brumbies, who have the same amount of points (42) but one less win.