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Waratahs must break new ground to secure finals berth

Waratahs' Ben Donaldson (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The NSW Waratahs will have to break new ground under coach Darren Coleman to secure a Super Rugby Pacific finals berth when they host Fijian Drua.


The last time the Waratahs strung four wins together was in 2018, well before Coleman came on board as coach for the 2022 season.

Sixth on the ladder, they can lock down a top eight spot with two rounds remaining if they trump the ninth-placed Drua, who they have thrashed in their previous three clashes.

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It’s a dramatic revival for the Sydneysider after only winning one of their first six matches, with that victory coming against the Drua.

Skipper Jake Gordon has been key to their resurgence with the halfback’s improved form reflected in their recent results.

Gordon was omitted from Eddie Jones’s first Wallabies training squad with the coach telling him he played better when he was “aggressive”.

“I had a brief conversation with Eddie when they named that squad and he gave me a few pointers – the main was that when I’m aggressive I play better,” Gordon said.


“I was pretty disappointed with the first four rounds – as a team we didn’t play well and I wasn’t playing well.

“I’ve been happy with my performances … not to sound arrogant but I’m liking the way it’s trending but I’ve still got work to do.”

The 29-year-old felt the Waratahs didn’t deal early on with heavy expectation on their prospects, with injuries also contributing to their poor form.


With the Drua just one point behind the eighth-placed Western Force, they will also be desperate for maximum points.


Gordon said the Fijians’ wins over top-four side, the Crusaders and Hurricanes, showed what a threat they could be.

“They’ve had some great results this year especially against some dangerous Kiwi sides,” he said.

“What we know is that one to 15 they’ve got the ability to offload and get in behind your defence so we need to be controlled around how we play and the set piece is going to be massive for us.

“It’s about limiting the amount of opportunities we give them through loose possession.”


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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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