Waratahs hoping to go back to the future

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A 2014 win over the Stormers sparked a championship run for the Waratahs but captain Michael Hooper says things are different in 2016.

Both sides have changed plenty since that clash and Hooper said they wouldn't be dwelling too much on that victory as they head to Newlands this weekend.

“(We’ll take) nothing into this game,” he said.

“The guys who were a part of it know how hard it is and it is a good celebration to have.

“The odds are stacked against you but they’re a completely different team to then as are we so it’s going to be a new challenge.

“And for us (it’s) the first South African team of the year as opposed to playing pretty much  Aussies all bar the HIghlanders.

“It’s a new challenge and new style of footy we’re going to be faced with tomorrow night.”

What happened after that 2014 clash proved to be defining for the Waratahs and Hooper said they hoped it kick started something similar two seasons on.

“It (that 2014 run) definitely is something to reflect on and think how you got yourself into that position and built confidence to be able to put out back-to-back performances each week,” he said.

“I mean, we haven’t won two games in a row yet. So for us going back-to-back against a tough team will be huge.

“It is a different squad to back then so and different coaching staff and all of that’s not excuses, but we’re trying to not reflect because that’s not going to be right for this squad.

“We’ve got to try and work out what's right or we think we’re going to try and work out what’s right ot get back-to-back performances.”

The Waratahs have made just one change to their side to face the Stormers after a Western Force game that Hooper described as a “lightbulb moment” for the side.

“We saw that as a really good 80-minute performance chasing that from start to finish,” he said.

“It was a real lightbulb moment in that we really controlled the game really well. That was down to our nines, 10s, KB (Kurtley Beale) and sticking to the game plan for the duration.”

Dean Mumm is the only new face in the starting side from that Force side and Hooper said he was confident that would boost their backrow.

“Having Dean at six, he’s a really quality jumper who will do nothing but help our chances and bolster that contest up.”

The Waratahs take on the Stormers in Cape Town tomorrow morning at 3:15am AEST. See all the action live on Fox Sports 2.