Waratahs won't be looking for a miracle finish in Africa

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Ned Hanigan can’t remember feeling better after a game of rugby than he did on Sunday morning but the NSW flanker says the Waratahs won’t be able to afford a second miracle in as many weeks.

NSW has given up big starts in both of its past two matches and it took a surprise 24-point run against the Highlanders on Saturday kept their season alive.

Hanigan said the come-from-behind win made the post-match mood better than any he can remember.

“I've never been so full of joy,” he said.

“I was absolutely spent but just couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It's almost more special to be a pa of, doing it like that.

“I was just so full of joy.”

Despite their jubilation, Hanigan said they knew they couldn’t let the Lions jump out to a lead in their semi-final in Johannesburg, after the Lions shut down a Waratahs-like comeback attempt from the Jaguares overnight.

“I think there would've been a lot of people at half-time (last night) that would've been shaking their heads going, 'We might as well go home',” he said.

“I think that all comes with reason.

“Not very often do you get an opportunity like we did to create a few tries and go over that white line.

“So, it happened last week as well against the Brumbies we just let them get out too far out in front.

“I think it's definitely the focus that we start really well in Johannesburg.”

The Lions handed the Waratahs their lowest point of this season in Sydney in April, a 29-0 loss, but Hanigan said they couldn’t take too much out of that match.

“We've played them before but they're a pretty different outfit and so are we,” he said.

“We can look at examples throughout the season with ourselves

“We went down to Canberra to beat the Brumbies and the Brumbies came here to beat us and as teams develop new things some players are a bit different on the field, things like that.

“We can't look too much at the previous game but in saying that there's a few tactical things that probably worked for us last game and a few things that we definitely have to counter.”

The Waratahs flew out of Sydney on Sunday morning ahead of their knockout semi-final in South Africa, with Michael Wells and Rob Simmons both travelling with the team despite being post-match  injury concerns.

The Waratahs take on the Lions on Saturday July 28, kicking off at 3:05pm local, 11:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.