Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - The Waratahs are headed for one of the most intimidating atmospheres in world rugby at Newlands, former fullback favourite Matthew Burke has warned the side.Weekend Gallery: 11-13 May
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, the once-staple Wallabies star was assessing what he called their “difficult mini-tour” of South Africa to play the Stormers (Saturday, 19:10) and then Cheetahs.
He branded the Stormers fixture a “tough proposition”, pointing to the fact that the ‘Tahs “haven’t had success for some time” in Cape Town.
Two years ago the men from New South Wales were soundly beaten twice at the venue: 27-5 in round-robin play and then 25-6 in a semi-final.
The rain-lashed 2008 game at the ground was drawn 13-13, while the Waratahs last prevailed in the city in 2006 (32-26).
Burke said: “The players know when you are playing at Newlands it’s one of the best and sometimes most intimidating atmospheres in world rugby, so be ready for it.
“They know the style of the Stormers is to be physical and confrontational, so get ready for it and give some back.
“I still remember a photo of (former ‘Tahs captain) Phil Waugh being collared by five Stormers and no other blue jerseys in sight. This is what they do, they try and outmuscle you by using bully tactics.
“It sounds so schoolboyish but if you take the field be prepared to stand and fight because it will be an all-in, figuratively speaking.”
Burke said that despite losing narrowly to the Bulls in Sydney last time out, he had spotted improvements in the Waratahs’ play and singled out flyhalf Berrick Barnes for praise in a “playmaker” capacity.