The Waratahs’ only 2017 match with the Queensland Reds couldn’t come at a better time, coach Daryl Gibson says.
Both sides are sitting at 2-6 after underwhelming performances this season but it’s arguable the Waratahs are at the lower ebb, after losing to the lowly Kings last Friday night
With the current Super Rugby format, Saturday’s clash will be the only Queensland-NSW derby this season, adding some extra stakes to the contest.
Gibson said the game was timely for his side, who shouldn’t have to look to far for motivation after a dismal showing at home last weekend.
“We’re playing our greatest traditional rival,” he said.
“A lot’s been said about what we represent and I think we couldn’t have found a better opposition than the Reds this week.
“We go into the game with similar issues, both 2 and 6, the fate for either one of us – it’s a must-win for both of us.
“Consequences are very much likely to be out of the conference.”
Centre Rob Horne said the match was a chance for the Waratahs to prove to their fans that they can turn their season around.
“NSW-Queensland games are always (thought of) on its own merit, regardless of either team's season. So, it’ll be a massive challenge up there,” he said.
“They’ve got so many great players and it’ll be a huge contest.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out there in our jersey and doing it proud. All our passionate supporters will be tuning in to see how we respond.”
Some of those passionate supporters headed out to Moore Park on Monday for an open member’s training session, a timely reminder for the players of those who ride the highs and lows of rugby.
While Gibson had assumed much of the blame for their most recent loss, he said his senior players had shown they weren’t going to shirk their share of the responsibility in recent days.
“What the players have been doing is taking accountability for themselves and their actions and through that we’re very united about what we need to achieve over the next seven games,’ he said.
“They feel a great sense of responsibility towards that and the reason they are senior players is they can provide that leadership.
“In these situations, that’s required.”
The Waratahs take on the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au