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By NSW Waratahs Media unit
What is your take on our defensive effort on Saturday night against the Brumbies?
In general it was a reasonable defensive effort, we’d obviously had an issue over the previous couple of weeks so it was definitely a step up. The Brumbies love to put you to the sword at that set piece and driving maul side of the game, and that’s probably an area that were lacking in at the latter part of the game as opposed to our defence.
How do you think our next generation forwards are performing on the Super Rugby stage?
Jed Holloway had a breakout year last year and he has only just come back for us last weekend, and I thought that he had a solid hit out. He was limited to the amount of minutes he was able to play and I think he will be all the better for that next week.
Ned Hanigan is a really exciting prospect – every opportunity we have given him he has really delivered and hopefully there will be more and more minutes coming his way as the weeks unfold.
What key elements will you be focusing on from a preparation point of view for our next match against the Rebels?
I think the breakdown is going to be a focus area for them – they seem to have two guys locked over the ball every time you get into a tackle contest, and as in every match, that tackle contest will play a major part in determining the game.
We know from what we have seen last weekend that they will be a side that is fiercely competitive at the breakdown, they’ll have a nice solid set piece and they will be looking to get the ball to the edge as often as they can so those will be within our focus.
What can we expect to see from the Rebels outfit on Saturday?
The Rebels are an interesting side; they haven’t notched up a win yet but they have been really challenging for their opposition. Against the Chiefs, they stuck right at it for 70-75 minutes and only conceded right there at the end.
I think they will take a fair bit of confidence out of the performance even though they’ll be frustrated with the loss. They will take confidence out of taking the number one team in Super Rugby at the moment right to the wire.
What are some of the positives we can take away from Round Four?
The positives are that we showed improvements in key parts of our game, the issue with that is we are not doing that consistently. Thirty minutes or fifty minutes of real competitive rugby isn’t going to win you a game – we need to be showing our improvement across those key areas across the full eighty minutes to make sure we turn those positives into a W.
Any word on Sekope Kepu and Bernard Foley returning this weekend?
There’s no official word yet as they are still working through their protocols and hopefully they will keep passing them day by day as we lead towards to game, but the signs for both of them seem reasonably positive.
Keps has recovered well from Saturday night but with a short turnaround he will be touch and go – he can’t have any hiccups along the way and his health is the priority.
Obviously with Bernard, week by week he has been slowly improving and got so close to making it last week; we are really hoping that he can manage to get across the line for Friday. At the end of the day, he will either pass or fail the concussion tests and that will determine his availability.
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The NSW Waratah’s will open their 2018 Super Rugby season with a home match against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on the 24th of February.
SANZAAR has released the Super Rugby draw for 2018 with the Waratahs scheduled to play eight games at home.