The Waratahs’ spark showed through in their final trial against the Rebels but round one against a relentless Stormers outfit will be another step up, flyhalf Bernard Foley says.
NSW seemingly flicked a half-time switch at Brookvale, after an opening grind, taking advantage of a more open game against the Rebels, scoring six second-half tries.
The Rebels’ defence was difficult to crack early on, in what was a handy litmus test for the Waratahs as they prepare for a Stormers side that throws itself at attacks.
“I back our attack every day of the week and there's world-class players in our backline,” he said.
“In saying that, we can only do that if we get the momentum and we get the gain line early on in the phases and as you said, the Stormers present as really big physical pack, they like to really defend up in your face.
“It's going to be a good challenge.
“We'll do our homework this weekend, we'll come up with a plan and hopefully go out there and execute it next week.”
The Waratahs notched 47 points against the Rebels, conceding just one try in the process, but Foley said they still had more to show.
“It was definitely quite a good grind between both sides,’ he said.
“I think it took us a while to find our straps there and I don't think we ever got going really but I think there was pleasing signs, especially from the guys who came in off the bench.
“They really added the intensity and maintained that foot on the throat and that was probably the most pleasing thing, the work rate and the intensity that the guys brought.”
Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau both showed positive signs on their Waratahs returns, and Foley said they needed more of that once the season truly begins
“I thought the boys really showed a lot of spark and I think the most pleasing thing is the work rate,” he said.
‘The guys were up for repeat efforts, to keep working and that's something we wanted to mark ourselves on and hopefully we can review the game with honest eyes and go into next week.
“We can't take a lot out of the scoreline, it's more about the effort and the workrate and that's the things we can work on.”
The Waratahs open their Super Rugby season against the Stormers before a tour of South Africa and Argentina the next two weeks.
The Waratahs take on the Stormers on Saturday February 24 at Allianz Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.