Cam Clark might have suffered the most brutal lesson in his fledgling Super Rugby career last Saturday night, but the winger says it was worth it.
Clark played the decoy in the lead-up to Michael Hooper’s try for the Waratahs against Queensland, role that saw him crunched by two Queensland defenders along the way.
It was all part of the plan, the former Aussie Sevens player said, speaking to media on Wednesday.
“I took a couple of shots in the ribs, part of the plan there as the decoy for that play,” he said.
“It’s nice to see set piece first phase attack tries so we’re definitely pumped with that one.
“You’re still an option to get the ball but ideally we wanted Hoops to go through.
While the reality was on the more painful side, Clark said he wasn’t worried about the hits once the score happened.
“(You) stand up and see the try, you don’t really think about what’s happened beforehand.”
Clark has become a mainstay of the NSW backline in recent weeks and the stability that has been there for the most part since Bernard Foley’s return to 10 is one that he said had boosted the side.
“I think having Bernard back and a few games under our belt and a few games back-to-back with the same combinations it’s starting to look a bit better, so hopefully we can improve again this weekend,” he said.
With Taqele Naiyaravoro in doubt for Saturday’s clash with the Blues another change may come in the back eight, after a game Clark rated as progress for the side.
“I think our backs’ performance on the weekend was definitely as a step ahead of where we've been, especially in that first half I think we were quite clinical in what we were doing and got what we wanted out of our set piece,” he said.
While the Waratahs have been far from impressive in a three-win season so far, they’re still well within reach of the Australian conference lead, just five points behind the Brumbies.
With the Brumbies on a bye this week, an elusive bonus-point win would put the Waratahs within striking distance of their close rivals.
A dangerous Blues side, who beat the Brumbies last weekend, stands in their way this weekend, though, with weapons Clark knows all too well.
Auckland boasts former sevens stars Rieko and Akira Ioane as well as cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams, all of whom Clark faced on the World Series circuit.
“They’ve got plenty of dynamic ball runners in their side, it’s not just the Ioane brothers,” he said.
“We’ve got a job cut out for us this weekend. “
The Waratahs host the Blues on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST LIVE ON FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.