Whitaker: No motivation necessary


29/05/2019





It may be the biggest game of the NSW Waratahs season so far but Assistant Coach, Chris Whitaker says that playing a Conference match is motivation enough for a side fighting to stay alive in the Super Rugby finals race.

“I think the biggest games we play are those against Australian provinces,” Whitaker said.

“Since the Rebels have come into the competition, they’ve improved every year and this is one game that our boys really look forward to playing.

“In the context of the season it’s no doubt a significant game, but we place a great deal of importance on all our Conference games and this is no different.”

The Waratahs fell agonisingly short last week against the Jaguares in a bruising encounter at Bankwest Stadium, with Whitaker acknowledging the need to be more clinical with the ball in hand.

“I think we created a lot of opportunities, but in the end gave away too many turnovers,” Whitaker said.

“We got in behind them a few times, but in the next phase or two we gave away the ball which has been a bit of an Achilles heel for us this season – creating opportunities but just not finishing them.

“Defensively we were really pleased with how the boys performed, I think we made 140 tackles in the first half – it was a huge effort.”

It’s a short turnaround for Friday night’s clash in Melbourne, and while the coaching staff busily prepare plans for the Rebels the focus for players will be squarely on recovery.

“We had Monday off to allow the boys some extra time [to recover] due to the fact that this block is nine games in a row – ensuring the boys manage their bodies is really important,” Whitaker said.

Last time the sides met in Round 10 the Waratahs ran down a 13-point deficit to finish 23-20 winners at the SCG, and Whitaker is aware of the hosts ability to get off to a fast start.

“They got off to a bit of a flyer last time they were up here in Sydney and scored some really good tries in the first half,” Whitaker added.

“If we go out there with the right intentions, play some footy and control the match we won’t be in a position where we need to claw them back.

“I was proud of the way the boys did that last time around, but I’d prefer for us to be dictating terms from the outset.”

The squad will fly out to Melbourne tomorrow for Friday night’s clash at AAMI Park – kick-off at 7.45pm.


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