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Coleman suggests Moana Pasifika match a bigger challenge than Crusaders

Dylan Pietsch. (Photo by AAP Image/Brendon Thorne)

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Hoping to stamp out complacency, coach Darren Coleman has branded the NSW Waratahs’ Super Rugby Pacific clash with lowly Moana Pasifika on Saturday as a bigger challenge than hosting the mighty Crusaders.


The Waratahs are flying high after stunning 10-time champions the Crusaders 24-21 in Sydney last Saturday but Coleman has cautioned his finals-bound charges against getting ahead of themselves.

The back-slapping stopped as soon as the Tahs returned to training on Monday, with Coleman intent on ensuring there’s no let-down in Auckland.

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Why Super Rugby Pacific is still not yet where it needs to be.
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“I reckon this is a bigger challenge,” the wily mentor said on Thursday.

“The emotional get up for the Crusaders, I found, was pretty easy. Getting that home crowd, what we’re trying to build at home, trying to build that fan engagement, that Waratah brand – that’s easy to sell that.

“I’ve got a feeling there’ll be a big crowd of Pasifika fans at Mt Smart Stadium so we’ve got to keep those fans quiet.”

The best way to keep them quiet, Coleman believes, is by keeping their team a long way away from the NSW try line.


“The closer they get to your try line, the harder they run,” he said. “So we’ve got to play good field position and keep the emotional energy away from them.”

The Waratahs (6-4) enter the match in sixth spot, with the Pasifika (1-8) last.

The Tahs, though, will be without inspirational captain Michael Hooper, who was concussed against the Crusaders.



Coleman is confident the champion flanker will be back for next week’s hosting of the Hurricanes but left Hooper out to err on the safe side.

Will Harris replaces the Wallabies skipper in the No 7 jumper.

“So we get a bit more of a power runner down the edges with Will and we get an additional lineout jumper,” Coleman said.

“Which this week is handy because we want to get at their lineout so, yeah, pros and cons.”


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