Waratahs forwards want to match it with the best

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs have a chance to prove their forwards can match it with the best, when they take on South African powerhouse, the Lions, on Friday night.

Early on in the season, the Waratahs’ set piece was seen as a target for oppositions, with the Stormers not afraid to point that out ahead of round one. 

Waratahs prop Tom Robertson said they hadn't yet reached their potential, but the Lions clash was a crucial litmus test.

“I think this is a great test for us, because they’re the best South African team, they're on top of the conference over there, they've got a big forward pack, got a lot of Springboks in the front row,” he said.

“It'll definitely be a big test for us and I think if we can come out of this and dominate this, we'll certainly stamp ourselves as the dominant forward pack to come after.”

Robertson said the scrum would be a vital area against the Lions, a team who have made scrum turnovers a trademark of their game.

“They've got 31 penalties from scrums so far this year, so that's the most out of any team,” he said.

“I guess our mindset is don't give them the ball for a start and make sure we keep the ball, and if we do have to play, we play down their end and use that territory there.

“There's a few things technically in the scrum time that we've got to get right as a front row but as a team perspective, hopefully we just don't get rid of the ball, to be honest.”

It will be an especially significant match for Robertson, in ANZAC Round, with his grandfathers and great-grandfather all ANZAC veterans.

The Waratahs will wear a specially-designed ANZAC jersey for the match.

“Every ANZAC Day, my mum and dad and my grandfathers, they always do the ANZAC march and both my grandfathers and my great-grandfather were ANZACs, so there's definitely a lot of history there,” he said.

“A lot of boys in the team actually have a lot of ancestry going back that way, so a lot of the boys still have the medals from their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, so it's going to be a special day and hopefully we can do them justice.

“There's definitely a lot of family pride in that sort of stuff and it'd be a great privilege to wear this jersey.”

The Waratahs are expected to name their team on Wednesday morning, with Will Miller, Rob Simmons and Michael Wells all needing to make it through Tuesday’s session unscathed to play on Friday night.

NSW hosts the Lions at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.