Waratahs on the bonus point hunt: Gibson

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Only a bonus point win will be enough for the NSW Waratahs in their final regular season clash, coach Daryl Gibson says.

The Waratahs finished Saturday night with a slim hope of being in contention for a wildcard spot heading into their final match, but Gibson said they would need a five-point win in their final match against the Blues.

While the Waratahs travel to Auckland, their conference rivals the Brumbies host the Force, who have won just two matches this season.

“You saw how the Blues played against the Brumbies, so to go too Eden Park and firstly win and a get a bonus is a hugely difficult task,” he said.

With all respect to the Force, who are going through some teething issues and the Brumbies have probably got the easier of the fixtures.”

Gibson’s view after the game is even more accurate after the Highlanders’ 34-8 win over the Jaguares on Sunday morning ruled out the possibility of two Australian teams scraping into the finals.

The Waratahs fell four points short of clinching any points from their loss to the Hurricanes, an extra that would have put them into the conference lead with one game to go.

Taqele Naiyaravoro was yellow-carded in the loss to the Hurricanes. Photo: Getty ImagesGibson said his side fell down at critical moments through the match, unable to cross in a series of close-range scrums and unable to score as they tried to scramble for a late bonus-point

“Those moments that we lost were crucial in the game and that’s the disappointing thing,” he said.

“For us, the period where Taqele was off the field, that was the telling 10 minutes of the game.

“.At times we looked very good and well in control of the game.

”I thought our energy was good our set pieces, particularly the scrum, was strong.

“That was disappointing to lose by such a margin.”

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said he couldn’t point out a specific reason for those lapses in the “blur” of a match.

“It’s a blur when you‘re coming off the field, just digesting it coming off, trying to think about the moments where we couldn’t get that,” he said.

“We’re a young squad, a growing squad. If we want to get to where we want to get to, we’ve got to close those moments out. That’s what the best teams do.”