Tahs under finals radar: Waugh

    2013-04-23 10:08
    Sydney - The Waratahs are ''sneaking under the radar'' as a finals threat in the Super Rugby competition, their retired former captain Phil Waugh believes.

    After NSW's upset win against the Chiefs on Friday, Waugh also believes they are well placed to take on the in-form Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday (Sydney time).

    He said the Waratahs should have gained a huge boost in confidence to be able to wrest the momentum back in their favour after losing it - and the lead - and still come out match winners, as they did against the Chiefs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney with their 25-20 round 10 victory, and he thinks that ability will play a huge part in the Bulls game.

    After eight games the Waratahs are 10th on the ladder on 25 points (two points off the top six) and third in the Australian conference.

    ''They are probably sneaking under the radar a little,'' said Waugh, who earned 124 Waratahs caps from 1999 to 2011, and 79 with the Wallabies.

    ''They are staying well and truly in touch with the Reds and the Brumbies. [The finals race] will be a lot closer than what people probably recognise.''

    Waugh praised NSW captain Dave Dennis for his leadership and its effect on the side. ''He has moulded into a very good leader. He has always been a good leader but now he is getting that confidence and level of acceptance of responsibility that all captains need.

    ''It's just a matter of getting the wins and being able to win close games. Last Friday's win was a big step forward in that.

    ''Belief in sport is so important, and I think they are really starting to believe in their ability and impact on the competition. They appear to be playing with a lot more belief than before.''

    Waugh said discipline would be vital against the Bulls, who are third on the ladder on 28 points and first in their conference.

    In the high altitude of Pretoria, it is easier to kick goals from further out and the Bulls are masters at capitalising on this, Waugh said. ''You can lose momentum very quickly giving away a couple of silly penalties. Discipline there is probably one of the most important things.''

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