Halfback Jake Gordon says NSW Waratahs senior players need to support their promising youngsters as they chase an anxiety-relieving Super Rugby win on Friday against the equally-desperate Melbourne Rebels.
It will be the Tahs’ first domestic hit-out of the season after convincing losses to the Crusaders and Blues, both from New Zealand.
The unbeaten conference-leading Brumbies have skipped eight points clear of NSW and Melbourne, who clash at AAMI Park.
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“We’ve addressed that local derbies are a big one at the moment for us obviously if we win our conference it propels us into finals,” Gordon said.
“They are in the same position as we are at the moment with two losses but i think for us it’s a huge game this weekend, going down to Melbourne.
“I think probably easing the anxiety a little bit coming away with a win will be really good for us.”
Saturday’s 32-12 loss to the Blues in Newcastle meant NSW lost their first two games of a Super season for the first time.
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Poor execution with the ball, erratic defence, kicking and scrummaging were all issues for the Tahs, who were outscored 24-5 and four tries to one after halftime.
“A lot the same as the Crusaders game, had a lot of opportunities, once again that last pass didn’t stick,” Gordon said.
“We probably didn’t stick to the gameplan either.
“There are promising signs. I know we said it last week too.
“We’re creating stuff it’s just we need to be better at finishing.”
It was a mixed night for their two exciting young backs, winger Mark Nawaqanitawase and five-eighth Will Harrison.
Nawaqanitawase’s acrobatic dive resulted in his third try in two games, though he landed awkwardly and had to come off, but was later cleared of any injury.
Harrison was replaced after 55 minutes, having had some good and bad moments.
“I think the senior guys (need) to probably put their arm around them and be like ‘lets move on to the next job’,” Gordon said.
“But from what I’ve seen from those young guys, I actually think they’ve been going really well.”
Gordon said his halves partner Harrison wasn’t having any problems directing and ordering far more senior colleagues around the park.
“I think with 10 he has to and he’s been doing that,” Gordon said
“I’ve been really happy with Will, I’ve loved playing with him so far.
“I love that he’s such an attacking weapon.”
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