Smarter, more efficient Tahs turn it on

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

A smarter, more efficient Waratahs performance was the key to the second half blitz, according to NSW coach Daryl Gibson.

The Tahs emerged from the sheds in the second half a completely different football team to the one that trailed 20-10 at the break, scoring five sublime second half tries to stun the Rebels.

The win was a line in the sand for Gibson's side after a lacklustre loss to the Jaguares and the NSW coach said the reduction of turnovers and smart kicking played an integral part in the turnaround.

"We kept our turnovers that were costing us in the first half to a minimum," Gibson said.

"And then overall I thought our late surge was due to our conditioning.Kurtley Beale starred for the Waratahs on Sunday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"There was a point there where momentum shifted our way because we looked pretty well conditioned.

"The other area which we talked about all week - the Rebels were the highest kicking team coming into this game so we knew we were going to receive a lot of kick possession .

"The stats show that we kicked more than them, 32-18, so we kicked smartly and that's the thing I'm most impressed with.

"We were smart, we got ahead and we played the game."

After pushing far too many passes in the first half Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale took control of the Waratahs attack, trading desperate offloads for considered pushes at the Rebels line which reaped consistent rewards.

Mitch Short and the Waratahs ran riot in the second half. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We're being far more patient with the ball, Gibson said.

"Two Rebels tries came directly off our errors and we were making inroads into the Rebels but we were letting them off the hook with our lack of ball control."

Captain Michael Hooper also made special mention of the 10-12 pairing.

"I was very impressed with Kurtley and Bernard and the way they were able to put the kicks up and put smart kicks in so we, as a forward pack, were moving forward," Hooper said.

"As a forward that is incredibly reassuring that you're putting the other team under pressure.

"You take a couple shots at goal, build pressure and guys start feeling like you're rev counter isn't up and you're not on your own line - those things really help."Israel Folau regularly soared above Rebels players. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyWhether Gibson will keep playing Folau on the right wing - a tactic that worked wonders on Sunday - remains a mystery, for now.

"Every time Israel went up for the ball, he came back down with it," Gibson said.

"I've been saying all year that's a tactic we would look to employ and we did that.

"He can play anywhere - if we had an injury at 12, we would most likely put him there - he's that good.

"For us it's all about finding the combination that works."

The Waratahs now have a bye this upcoming weekend, their next match coming in round seven against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium.