Waratahs off the leash and on the rampage

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Giving his team a little leeway turned out to be the secret to Daryl Gibson getting what he wanted - a win.

The Waratahs were let loose on Friday night and Gibson said it was that which helped them come together for a 45-25 win over the Chiefs.

Gibson said the win had "an air' of the season-defining type of victory, though that definition will be put on hold for the next month as Wallabies season takes over.

“As a team, we learned a great deal last week against the Crusaders. We felt that we’d set the team up too defensively and this week we purposely let the reins go a bit and we wanted to come out and attack.

Tonight we got closer to the type of rugby we want to play and be known for against the best team in New Zealand. We’re very happy to score 45 points and I’m very proud of them.”

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said the side clicked for the first time in a while in the romping win, a timely gelling with the side well and truly backed into a corner.

“Really frustrating because we see it so often in training, what guys can do at training from your newest squad members to Matt Carraro who’s been around for ages,” he said.

“Everyone can do it at training and everyone’s wanting to do it at training, it’s just been that transition into the weekend performance and getting that right.

“We’ve had sparks of it through games but to get a performance like that just really proud of the guys.

“To do it when we were in a little bit of a spot of bother and we haven’t clicked when we needed to click (was great).

“To come out tonight (and play like that) is why Daryl and I are so proud because our backs were to the wall to a certain extent.

Israel Folau was at his best against the Chiefs. Photo: Getty ImagesAs much as their attack screamed ‘2014 Waratahs’ it was the physical presence of their big forwards that Hooper said truly proved the key.

“It’s pretty crucial for our team to have a physical presence,” he said.

“That’s been a blueprint for us over the last three years and something we probably wanted to get back to tonight.

“Especially  against a team like the Chiefs, (we wanted to) put them off their game a little bit and just rattle them in any way possible.

“But to play on top of them and play, impose our game is something we’ve been chasing.

“It’s taken us a while to get it but the mindset the coaches fed down to us this week was just, ‘go out and play and want to get into the game, want to make your impact on the game,’ and the guys ran with that tonight.”

Waratahs veteran Matt Carraro left the side 14 men down, after a groin injury with five minutes to go, but he will have three weeks to recover before Super Rugby resumes.

The Waratahs lead the Australian conference ,though a bonus point win to the Brumbies on Saturday night could knock them off that perch ahead of the June Test break.

Gibson will be sending his non-Wallabies back to club rugby during the break, with their 10 Test players heading to camp on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.