Vodacom Super 14

Tahs set to tame the Lions

2009-05-11 09:16
Phil Waugh (File)
Durban - The Waratahs will turn their attention on Mionday to what many believe is the impossible task of sneaking into the Super 14 finals following a hard-earned, gritty win against the Sharks.

After a courageous 16-12 victory at ABSA Stadium on Saturday - their second win from two games of a three-match South African tour - the Waratahs are seventh on 36 points.

They face a daunting task. The Lions might be ranked 11th but at home are another beast. The Waratahs also know that if they do win with a bonus point, Lady Luck must still play her hand in their finals fate.

However, securing that possible top-four berth was an objective Waratahs captain Phil Waugh was understandably happy to shelve - at least for 24 hours - after their two tries-to-nil win over the Sharks. Waugh told his charges before they left Australia that they must focus on winning all three of their matches in South Africa and aim to return home knowing that they had used every reserve to do so.

As the Waratahs left ABSA Stadium with rain still falling, he wanted to enjoy the win - their last against the Sharks here was in 2005 en route to making the final against the Crusaders, which they lost.

But there was an extra buzz about this latest victory at ABSA Stadium, better known as Kings Park.

"To hold them tryless here at Kings Park is a really big effort," Waugh said.

"That's where we won the game. We probably could have scored more points, particularly in that first half, but to hang in there and win the game was very pleasing.

"We talked about it before the game. It doesn't matter how many hills you have run in December and January, it's about how you perform at Kings Park.

"It's a great stadium, has a great history. I am really pleased to come away with that victory."

Sure, the bonus point for four tries did not come for NSW; nor a blow-out score to help them in for-and-against calculations. But in a match played between two teams with similar games who had as much at stake as each other and were left to play in mostly rainy weather, it was always going to be a tight affair.

Waugh revelled in the game. His leadership, work at the breakdown, in defence and in support when in attack was rewarded with him later named man of the match.

"We are going to Johannesburg to win. That's what we have got to do," he said of their final-round clash.


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