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Waratahs look to tackle inconsistencies against fierce rivals Reds

By AAP
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

NSW Waratahs halfback Jake Gordon believes his side can maintain their late-season finals push if they can address minor inconsistencies ahead of an interstate clash with rivals Queensland.

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The Waratahs (17 points) currently sit seventh on the Super Rugby Pacific standings just two points behind the Reds, who they face at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville on Saturday.

A win will see them gain valuable ground in the race for top-eight finals spots with the Highlanders (15 points) and Melbourne Rebels (14) in their rearview mirror.

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Fresh off a last-gasp victory over the Highlanders in round 10, the ‘Tahs are hunting for back-to-back wins for the first time this season and looking to end Queensland’s recent streak at two.

The last time NSW strung consecutive victories was 15 matches ago in round 11 and 12 of 2022.

Gordon says any hopes of a successful tilt from the quarter-finals onwards will be hampered significantly if they can’t string together a complete performance now 11 rounds into the season.

“It’s getting towards the end of the year and we need to start being more consistent,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We spoke about that – we just really haven’t put an 80 minute performance together yet. We’ve been a little bit inconsistent starting halves and finishing as well.

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“Last week was a great result for us especially in a clutch moment like that to score in the 80th minute. It was good for the group.”

With Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones keeping a keen eye on performances ahead of this year’s World Cup, Gordon believes he still has work to do to earn a national call up.

When asked if he’s done enough to warrant selection, Gordon replied “not yet,” but backed his form as of late.

“I probably didn’t start the year the way I wanted to,” he added.

“I think I’ve been playing better of late. It’s a really short season.

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“It’s a really important year for rugby. I think they need to pick the best players and I need to make sure I’m playing my best.”

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Jon 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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