Tahs know value of victory in Perth

Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:49
Large tahs victory

In a tightly congested Australian conference, the Waratahs are aware of the importance of bursting the Western Force's bubble when they meet in their Round Nine Super Rugby derby in Perth on Saturday

In a tightly congested Australian conference, the Waratahs are aware of the importance of bursting the Western Force's bubble when they meet in their Round Nine Super Rugby derby in Perth on Saturday.
 
Approaching the halfway point of the competition, three Australian sides are positioned in the overall top five, with the Brumbies (21 log points) one point ahead of the Waratahs (20 log points), the Force another two points back (18 log points) and the Queensland Reds still well in the mix for a finals berth, sitting on 15 log points.
 
The definition "eight-point" match springs to mind when looking at this fixture as the fourth-placed overall Waratahs, fresh off a 22-11 win over the Stormers in Cape Town, can either open up a potentially decisive gap over the Force in the Australian conference or get passed by the in-form Perth-based side.
 
The fifth-place Force will come into the game off the back of four wins in a row for the first time in their history, having impressively beaten the Reds (32-29), Chiefs (18-15), Highalnders (31-29) and Rebels (32-7) in recent weeks. 
 
If the Reds beat the Brumbies at home in Brisbane on Friday, it means that the winner in Perth could well go to the top of the Australian Conference, which emphahsises the importance of the clash.
 
Away wins are a rare commodity in 2014 and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika admits a victory over the Force in Perth would be priceless.
 
"Obviously it's an important game in the bigger picture of the comp, that's for sure," Cheika told AAP.
 
"It's an away game and they have been so hard to win - across the board for any team - so if we can take a home game off one of our conference challengers, then it puts you in a good position.
 
"But we're very aware they're a team that's been on a roll and firing on all cylinders.
 
"It's going to be very difficult but the lads are feeling good and they're up for the challenge."
 
The Force have only beaten the Waratahs twice in 12 games, and both wins were in Sydney, but even after his side beat them 43-21 in their opening game this year, Cheika sensed they were in for a good year.
 
While the Force have never beaten the Waratahs in Perth, there is a history of some closely-contested games there, with the Sydney-based side winning 23-18 in 2012, 14-10 in 2010 and 17-12 in 2008, and Chieka says that his side will need to be on high alert to stop the threat that the Force will pose.
 
"It doesn't surprise me at all now to see them winning because they've got a good team with x-factor players, guys who can make a break, score tries and create something out of nothing," he said.
 
"They've got a bit of edge around their forward pack and they work hard.
 
"They'll always have a good set piece with Michael Foley as coach, so they've got the basis there of a very successful formula."
 
Cheika is once again hopeful that his star fullback Israel Folau will return this weekend after missing both matches in South Africa with a throat injury.
 
"He'll train today [Tuesday]. 
 
"He's just got to get through his contact work well and he should be okay," Chieka added.
 
Against the Force, the Waratahs will be without another Wallaby star after eighthman Wycliff Palu returned to Sydney on Tuesday for further treatment for an ankle injury.
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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Suva
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9