The Waratahs victory over the Rebels on Friday meant that they currently sit in second place on the Super Rugby ladder, whilst this has been no small feat, the even bigger task at hand is holding onto this spot. The next two games against the Chiefs and Brumbies will decide whether the Waratahs make the finals and if so, whether they have home ground advantage.
With the Sharks looking most likely to finish first, the Chiefs and Brumbies are probably the two other teams with the biggest claims for second spot. As such, victories against them would almost be worth double points.
Half-back Nick Phipps spoke this week about how important these games were, saying:
“It’s all fine getting the wins when you should be getting the wins, but for us now it’s about keeping that consistency. We want to win those tight games, edge teams out, keep getting points on the ladder and moving up towards the end of the year.”
This is great to hear, and it is exactly the attitude that the Tahs need to have over the next few weeks, they showed earlier in the season that they could win playing smart rugby against the Stormers in South Africa. Now they need to prove it again in New Zealand, whilst a bonus point win could move the Tahs up to first place, they need to preference a snatch and grab victory rather than a shoot out.
The Chiefs are going to come out looking for redemption, following their 45-8 loss to the Hurricanes last week. If the Tahs can weather what is sure to be a ferocious opening twenty minutes, then they should be in with every chance.
Coach Michael Cheika has been very quiet this week, but his assistant Daryl Gibson spoke well saying:
“For us, part of our transformation process becoming the team we want to become, winning in New Zealand is part of that. We see that as the greatest challenge of our season, which we are eager to take up.
Let's see if they're up for the challenge.