‘It’s not rocket science’.
That’s the assessment from Waratahs fullback Israel Folau on his side’s chances of beating the Highlanders in the first of a two-match tour across the ditch.
Australian teams are 0-18 against New Zealand sides this season but the Waratahs’ attacking enterprise that emerged against the Rebels is a hint that they have what it takes to score against any team
Though a defence that missed another 40 tackles on Sunday will be heavily tested against the Highlanders, Folau said the Waratahs might just have found the key to ridding themselves of the second-guessing that has plagued them this year.
“You’ve got to be confident in going over there and that’s what we’re thinking about,” he said.
“It’s not rocket science.
“Every team’s going over to really get the win but that’s not the motivation.
“The guys have got to get the result out of their heads and just go and play rugby.
“That’s what we did this afternoon. We made a few mistakes, but it didn’t hold us back from expressing ourselves and playing.”
Folau is far from the only one trying to get out of his head, a strategy he believes all of his teammates need to embrace ahead of a daunting tour.
“The challenge is because we’re playing New Zealand teams to not go into your shell,” he said.
“I think it’s been a bit of a perception in the way people have looked at the way New Zealand teams play (that Australian teams can’t do that).
“I would definitely back, not only our guys, but all the Australian Super Rugby teams have got the skills to play it.
“It hasn’t gone our way but it’s not going to hold us back to playing the way we want to play and I know we’ve got the skills to do that.”
Folau looked like he was relishing playing rugby for the first time in recent memory, savouring the moment as he ran in for a critical 40th-minute try against the Rebels.
Until their round 11 match against the Blues, Folau had been on the longest try-drought of his Super Rugby career.
Four tries in two games has bucked that trend, in the first sign that the 28-year-old is feeling comfortable again, at what could be very convenient timing for the Waratahs and Wallabies.
“I think from the start of the week, I really just wanted to simplify things and just look for that enjoyment and the reason why I play the game,” he said
“I really enjoyed it out there, trying to get that smile back out there.
“That’s what it’s all about for me, is really enjoying my footy with a bunch of my mates.”
The Waratahs take on the Highlanders on Saturday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.