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NSW Waratahs chase momentum not Test spots against Reds

By AAP
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Momentum is the buzzword at the NSW Waratahs but even they concede it’s folly to claim having it without winning successive games in the Super Rugby Pacific.

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The Waratahs are high on spirit and back in the top eight after breaking through for their first victory over New Zealand opposition this season.

But the Tahs are also conscious of being yet to string two wins together in the opening nine rounds of the competition.

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A last-gasp 21-20 escape against the Highlanders after copping a 55-21 thumping the week before at the hands of the Blues is hardly carrying “momentum” into Saturday’s crucial derby against the Queensland Reds in Townsville.

And hooker Dave Porecki knows it.

“It would be nice to go back to back,” Porecki said on Tuesday.

“Once you hit finals, you can’t go one on, one off.

“So we’re looking forward to a good performance this weekend against a quality outfit at their home. It’s going to be tough.

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“They’re coming off a good performance as well. Their back row is pretty strong, they work together as a team, they work hard for each other, have a good defensive system, so it’s a challenge for us.

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“But what better way to bind a group than having a tough challenge like this away from home.”

The sub-plot to the clash between the sixth-placed Reds and seventh-placed Waratahs is the raft of individual battles between Wallabies aspirants in this all-important Rugby World Cup year.

Porecki is one of some eight hookers who have featured in Wallabies squads over the past two seasons under new coach Eddie Jones or his axed predecessor Dave Rennie.

But the 30-Test star and seeming No.1 No.2 in the national pecking order isn’t getting caught up in the hype.

“I’ve never been in a place where Wallabies is talked about so much week to week but obviously it’s the build-up to a massive year so it’s always going to be in the media,” Porecki said.

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“But first and foremost, Eddie has come out and said if you’re not playing well or you’re not playing footy, it’s hard for him to pick you.

“So I personally don’t go into games thinking I need to play well because of the Wallabies.

“I just go into games thinking I need to play well and this is what I love doing and it’s my job and I want to play well for my team.

“So if that gets you into the Wallabies frame, then it gets you into the Wallabies frame.

“But I think for everyone here, yeah, there’s some nice match-ups coming up but at the end of the day, we want to win this game.”

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