Vodacom Super 14

Waugh defends 'ugly' style

2009-05-18 11:45
Phil Waugh (File)

Sydney - Skipper Phil Waugh blamed missed opportunities on Monday rather than negative tactics for the Waratahs' failure to reach the Super 14 playoffs.

The Sydney-based Waratahs miss out on the last four of this year's southern hemisphere provincial series despite winning more games than the fourth-placed Crusaders, with whom they also finished level on points.

The Waratahs fell short by just four points on points differential with the defending champion Crusaders.

Commentators have lashed the Waratahs' dour play this season, saying their winning "ugly" style contributed to their demise.

The Waratahs finished the season with a meagre five bonus points, only one more than the bottom team Cheetahs of South Africa.

But Wallaby flanker Waugh, back home after his side's unbeaten three-game run in South Africa, said it was missed opportunities that cost the Waratahs, not negativity.

"We gave ourselves opportunities to score points throughout the year," Waugh told reporters.

"We would have scored four tries in most games (to earn a bonus point) had we taken the opportunities we created, and had that been the case we would be in the finals.

"The damage was done probably before we got over to South Africa. I thought 41 points would get us in, but unfortunately it didn't, but we gave ourselves every opportunity.

"You can look back at the year and different turning points but that's sport, we have to move on... to get 13 points out of Africa is a pretty big effort."

It means no Australian team will play in the semi-finals for only the third time in the 14-season history of Super Rugby,

The Waratahs finished fifth, the Brumbies seventh, Force eighth and Reds 13th.

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