The one word Waratahs want to eradicate

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

But.

It’s the word Waratahs captain Michael Hooper wants to rid his team of this weekend against the Reds.

The Waratahs had produced patchy efforts in almost every game this year, a season where they’ve led just once at half-time, though that was in their loss to the Kings last Friday, and won just two matches from eight starts

“We’ve done some really nice things this year and in positions where we’ve been down and out, been able to come out swinging and put together massive pieces of play and a great 40 minutes but the but’s got to stop,” he said.

“Forty minutes here or there’s not good enough. Time and time again this year, it hasn’t been.”

Hooper isn’t letting himself look into the possibility of defeat as both teams cling to their conference credentials at Suncorp Stadium.

Consecutive Brumbies’ losses mean they’re both still less than two wins adrift of the leaders, but a loss on Saturday would be two steps backwards.

Michael Hooper wants to turn things around against the Reds. Photo: Getty ImagesHooper said he wasn’t thinking about the potential fallout from a loss to their fierce rivals, when asked about the stakes on Thursday.

“Not planning for a loss, so I can’t tell you how that would feel,” he said.

“Everything’s pointing to a win for us at the moment and how we’re doing that’s been the focus for us this week.

“We know the Reds will be just as keen so it’s on getting ourselves right because that’s the stuff we can control.”

After a loss that ranked among their worst in recent memory, Hooper said the team hadn’t entirely bottled itself away from the external critics.

“You can’t take all things (in) but you can’t ignore them as well.

“When it comes to wanting to please our fans, we want them to be proud of reading the stuff in the paper and that’s probably not there at the moment. - Michael Hooper

“We want to reward those people (who are turning up)...and want to get back all the people that may be questioning whether to come into the game.”

Attack coach Chris Malone said he expected the Reds to have just as much desire as the Waratahs, as they look to salvage some pride on their home stage.

“In front of their home crowd, I expect they’ll have people prodding them behind the scenes, all their past players and all that this week.

“They’ll have steam coming out of their ears so I expect a passionate NSW-QLD derby.”

Mick Byrne is pleased with the way the Wallabies are developing. Photo: Getty ImagesNational coaches Mick Byrne and Mario Ledesma were both at Waratahs training on Thursday, a move Malone said was just routine.

“I’m in contact with Mick a lot - he’s great and he’s great for Australian rugby and the more input and stuff we can bounce off each other as coaches (is great),” he said.

“He’s obviously got great experience there and he tries to get around to all the states.”

The Waratahs take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au

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