Waratahs looking ahead as ‘strange things can happen’ in the playoffs

Waratahs players during Super Rugby Pacific match Credit: Alamy
Waratahs players during Super Rugby Pacific match Credit: Alamy

The Waratahs are still eyeing Super Rugby Pacific glory despite their shock 33-24 loss to Moana Pasifika, who claimed their first win of the season.

It was a poor outing from the ‘Tahs who had already qualified for the playoffs and were looking to take some momentum into the knockout phase of the season.

Key injuries

The loss came with some injuries to key stars including skipper Jake Gordon, who is ruled out through concussion, whilst Harry Johnson-Holmes (ankle), Izaia Perese (hip) and Langi Gleeson (back) are all in doubt for the quarter-final against the Blues.

Head coach Darren Coleman says the team will see where they are with their injuries and get ready to fight in the next game.

“They copped some bumps there. They’ll sort of race the clock to get right,” Coleman told reporters.

“It always seems to be the way when you play poorly, you get injuries and then you look up and it looks like it’s a massive mountain in front of you.

“Obviously we won’t get too much training done with a six-day turnaround and a trip over there mixed in. We’ll take stock of who we’ve got. I think we’ve put too much work in for the last eight months to fly the white flag.”

The clash with the Blues is at the historic Eden Park where the Waratahs last won in 2009 and is going to be a demanding fixture.

Anything can happen

Second-row High Sinclair understands the difficulties ahead but also believes anything can happen in knockout rugby.

“Look, It’s tough. It’s one of the toughest assignments you can have,” said Sinclair.

“We had a decent learning curve with the Chiefs last year, that was the first week of finals as well, so I think we take some lessons out of that.

“But yeah, Eden Park, it’s a different beast. It’s their fortress. Australian rugby hasn’t done well there.

“But finals are a funny thing. Strange things can happen. Scrap for everything, as DC (Coleman) said, effort on effort. We’ve got to stop them from scoring points and if we do that, anything could happen.

“You’ve got to have a crack. As DC said, we’re not going to wave the white flag. We’re going to go out there and have a go.

“We’ve got a couple of injuries, but it’s 15 versus 15. At the end of the day, it’s 15 Kiwis versus 15 Aussies. We play the Aussie way, we play our way. We play with some more accuracy, we play tough and we’ll be alright, we’ll get the result.”

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