Tahs get physical

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika wants his side to bring back the physicality that won New South Wales the title last season.

A shock loss to the Force in Perth led to some soul searching for Cheika’s men ahead of their clash with the Sharks at Allianz Stadium.

“Over the evolution of our team we needed to get tougher and I think we have grown and we’ve got tougher,” Cheika said.

“We know what’s going to be confronting us so we’ve got to be clever, work hard and do whatever it takes in the physical stakes to win the battle.”

The importance of fronting up against the Sharks not lost on skipper Dave Dennis, with the Rebels breathing down the Tahs’ necks on the Asteron Life Super Rugby table.

“We know where we’re sitting (on the table) and I think it’s also the motivation from last week,” Dennis said.

“We tend to bounce back quite well from poor results and we’re going to have to on Saturday.”

Jacques Potgieter won’t line up against his countrymen after being ruled out with a chest injury. Cheika naming Stephen Hoiles at blindside flanker after overcoming a knee complaint.

“He’s (Hoiles) definitely stronger in the lineout and he’s also a ballplayer. He can carry too even though he’s not a mountain of a man…that’s why even off the back of a week off through injury, I had no hesitation putting him straight in,” Cheika said.

Hoiles’ elevation leaving a bench spot for youngster Jack Dempsey, who’s been in outstanding form at club rugby level.

“We’ve been monitoring him all the way through and we think the time is right to give him a go at Super Rugby…He’s young and enthusiastic and he just wants to get out there and that’s something that we like.”

The Waratahs have won their past seven games at home against the Sharks.