The Waratahs took on the Highlanders on Friday in what was expected to be the toughest pre-season trial, and it certainly lived up to expectations with the Tahs escaping 19-16 victors.
In start contrast to the free flowing rugby shown against Auckland, the game was riddled with handling errors and the Waratahs had to deal with a much stouter Highlanders defence.
Kurtley Beale's injection from the bench was the catalyst to a stronger attacking presence and the Waratahs continued to show their intent to ignore potential penalty goals in the search for tries, whilst the Highlanders often chose to settle for three points.
Michael Cheika seemed happy with the match saying, "It was exactly what we needed, hard at the breakdown, there was some good and bad but, all in all, I’m happy with the physicality and attention to detail at the ruck.”
Overall, the Tahs should be pretty happy with how the pre-season has gone. Whilst their first two trial games probably weren't regarded as great barometers of form, taking on a strong Highlanders outfit is a great way to get the troops ready for a long and arduous season.
Check out the match highlights below and let us know what you think of the Tahs pre-season.