They’re about to have their second bye in four weeks and Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says their stuttered start to the season puts them in control of their own destiny.
NSW has travelled to Brisbane and Canberra in their opening four matches, with a loss to the Highlanders their only encounter with a New Zealand side so far.
Their opponents on Sunday have clocked more than 30,000 and faced a New Zealand, South African and the new Sunwolves in Tokyo, with their first bye yet to come.
Hooper said their quirky start to the year put them in a good spot heading into the middle stage of the Super Rugby season.
“There’s no plan to do it how we’ve done it so far but we’re in the box seat of our destiny and that’s a great position to be in,” he said.
“We’re not needing wins, not really on the edge or too far gone, we’re in the box seat to only improve.
“Obviously it’s nice to see your season roll and build as it goes on and I think we’ve got the huge potential to do that.”
While the bulk of their games are yet to come, coach Daryl Gibson said he was acutely aware of the importance of this weekend’s clash with the Rebels, likely to help determine second spot in the Australian conference.
“I think last week we won ugly we got the win and these are the games you need,” he said.
“Home games, critically important if you can win those and win some away then suddenly you’re a chance for those playoff and wildcard threats.
“I still firmly believe the Rebels are going to be in playoff contention so this is a big game for both teams.
“For us, it improves our record with a win and that’s important to try and keep pace in the competition.”
The Waratahs have beaten the Rebels in nine of their 10 match-ups since the Rebels’ 2011 inception.
This 11th clash will kick off at Allianz Stadium on Sunday at 4:05pm AEST.