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'You've got to go again': Waratahs out to prove beating Crusaders was no fluke

By AAP
Tate Edmed wins the race for the loose ball for the Waratahs. Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Intent on not being one-hit wonders, the NSW Waratahs have swiftly shifted their focus to claiming another prized scalp following their shock Super Rugby Pacific victory over the champion Crusaders.

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After three ordinary trial showings and a season-opening loss to the Queensland Reds, the Waratahs were the talk of the tournament after upending the Crusaders 37-24 in Melbourne.

“We simplified it a lot. The game plan was just to carry a lot harder, connect and just compete and scrap for everything,” said try-scoring lock Hugh Sinclair.

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“It felt like we did that for the majority of the game.

“Look, they’re a good team. They’re definitely missing some players compared to the year before, but still they’ve got some players there that won multiple Super Rugby titles.

“So you’ve got to be happy with that, but we also know we’re one and one early in the season and it’s not a very long season.

“So you’ve got to go again.”

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Dogged by inconsistency in recent seasons, Sinclair said the Tahs only celebrated briefly in the AAMI Park sheds last Saturday night before pledging to get straight back to work in preparation for Friday’s hosting of the Highlanders in Sydney.

“We just parked it there. We knew we had a short turnaround,” he said.

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“Obviously people are calling this a massive upset. If we want to be a good team, we’re just calling it a win and the good teams go again and back it up.

“At the end of the year, does anyone care about us beating the Crusaders if we don’t back it up and get into the finals or what-not?

“You probably just wasted the season then otherwise.

“So we know we’ve got to go again and the Highlanders, they’re a different beast this year.

“I really like what they’re doing.”

While the Waratahs are trying to keep a lid on things, Sinclair did concede upsetting the Crusaders had given the squad a burst of energy.

“Even on the bus back to the hotel, the week before is like a funeral,” he said.

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“Then, after a win like that, you’re chirping a bit and you’re talking about the game and, yeah, bouncing on Monday.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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