The Reds have given the Waratahs a ‘blue print’ for facing South Africa’s Lions, hooker Damien Fitzpatrick says.
NSW took a bonus-point win against the Reds on Saturday night, putting them on top of the Australian conference for the first time this year.
They host the Lions next Friday night, who will be an altogether more difficult prospect than a still-developing Reds side, but Fitzpatrick said they were cut from the same cloth.
“I think the Lions play very similar to the Reds,” he said.
“I think they've got a really good lineout, some really big guys there.
“Their scrum obviously is incredibly strong, and likewise they have big ball runners and you've got some incredibly fast blokes our wide.
“We've seen a bit of a blue print of it tonight. Obviously, the coaches will have something for us on Monday because they would've reviewed and we'll come and have a look at the Lions but from the games I've seen I think they play very similar to the Reds in terms of the personnel they've got.”
The Waratahs’ set piece has becoming a solid part of their game, despite looking like a weakness in the preseason, and their lineouts will be tested by a Lions side that loves to snatch some set piece.
Fitzpatrick said they were still not perfect in that area, but after having that part of their game targeted by opponents, they’ve come out better on the other side.
“I know Simon (Cron), Rob (Simmons) and the other lineout leaders have been working overtime to make sure that each week we've got the right product for the team we're playing and it's pleasing to know that's an area that we've improved on a lot because we realise it wasn't up to scratch last year,” he said.
“We probably realise that because of that, teams are going to come after us and at the moment we're managing to get the job done.
“We missed a few tonight, so we'll go back and review them. It's not finished yet but we'll keep working on it.”
The Waratahs have a six-day turnaround before they host the Lions, while their South African counterparts will land in Australia after a bye week.
NSW hosts the Lions on Friday night at Allianz Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.