Vodacom Super 14

Waratahs arrive in Cape Town

2010-05-22 07:28
Phil Waugh (File)

Cape Town - The Waratahs finally showed up in Cape Town on Friday afternoon, just 24 hours ahead of their Super 14 semi-final against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday evening.

Kick-off is at 19:10.

The Australian visitors have been in the country since Monday but decided to shake off their jet lag in the "quiet" sub-tropical surroundings of Durban. However, the tour party headed straight to the match day venue at Newlands for a light work-out on their arrival in the Mother City.

"It was a good place for a recovery on the back of a long flight and it was a quiet place to do the preparation (for the playoff)," said Waratahs coach Chris Hickey.

"After a long flight it takes a few days to recover and it impacts on the time available for preparing."

Waratahs captain Phil Waugh felt his team had recovered well and were physically prepared for the match.

"It's good to be in Cape Town and now it's a matter of getting mentally attuned to make sure we're up for it on the night," said Waugh.

"We're feeling pretty good and everything has gone to plan this week as far as preparations are concerned."

Newlands holds a special place in Waugh's heart because he made his Super rugby debut there in 2000 during the days of Super 12. The Waratahs were defeated by the Stormers on that day, and it was also the case when Waugh last played there in February this year.

"There's no point in dwelling on history because there's been lots of football - and good things since then (February)," said Waugh.

"It's a whole new ball game in the playoffs. The team has come together at the right time and have found their game.

"We're running good lines on attack and we've been particularly good in that department."

Waugh was also mindful of the fact that since the advent of Super 14 rugby the Waratahs, the only Australian side to reach the playoffs in the last five seasons, have not been able to win a playoff fixture on foreign soil.

Hickey said his side wanted to make history by winning a playoff match in an away game.

"The history is there but we will want to make history of our own," said Hickey. "The expectations are high back home (in Sydney) and we're up against a side with the best Super 14 defence record.

"We face a challenge to unlock their defence and at the same time we'll have to watch their attacking game because they have strikers all over the park.

"They are capable of creating pressure and that often forces errors so we'll be prepared for their attacking game."

The Waratahs under Waugh were losing semi-finalists in 2006 and losing finalists in 2008 and the combative loose forward felt his team would benefit from those playoff outings.

Waugh said the team would be equipped with ploys to break down the Stormers' defence and he singled out in-form fullback Kurtley Beale as the Waratahs' most lethal attacking weapon.

The Waratahs and the Stormers will have the benefit of knowing the outcome of the other semifinal before they run out at Newlands, where all 52 000 tickets have been sold.

The reigning Super 14 champions, the Bulls, host New Zealand side the Crusaders in Soweto at 17:00.

In the event of a Bulls victory, the 2010 Super 14 final will be played at Orlando Stadium, regardless of the outcome of the other semi-final.

However, if the Bulls suffer defeat and the Stormers win their semi-final, the final will be played at Newlands.

And if both South African teams lose, the Waratahs will host the final in Sydney.

Read more on:    super 14  |  cape town  |  stormers  |  waratahs

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