Waratahs ready for Sunwolves threat after Tokyo scare

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Sunwolves nearly taught the Waratahs a hard lesson in Tokyo last month and winger Cam Clark says they are wary of falling into the Japanese side’s trap again.

NSW edged out the Japanese outfit 31-30 in that Tokyo matchup, with a Karmichael Hunt charge down on a Hayden Parker drop goal attempt saving them from a potential upset.

The Sunwolves went on to beat the Chiefs a week later in New Zealand, their first win outside of Asia, while the Waratahs have had an up and down year, 

The Waratahs are expected to rest a number of players this Friday night against the Sunwolves, including flyhalf Bernard Foley and flanker Jack Dempsey, as part of load management ahead of the World Cup.

“I don't think we were too disciplined in the way we attacked in Tokyo, a lot of 50-50 passes, a lot of errors that give them a lot of opportunity. you can see the strike power they've got from unstructured attack, especially, they can really do some damage,” he said.

“If we can limit their opportunities with the ball especially in those unstructured scenarios hopefully it goes a long for us getting a win.”

Clark admitted there was a need to strike a balance between resting players and ensuring they didn't take the improving Sunwolves lightly.

“On their day they can beat anyone in the comp,” he said.

“The way they play, a lot of flair, some great attacking weapons there so they're sort of an unpredictable team so they're quite hard to prepare for.

“I guess anyone that comes in they know we'll focus on our processes and make sure if we're focused on the right areas we should be able to get a result.”

Coach Daryl Gibson has already been rotating his outside backs this year with Curtis Rona going out of the 23 last week and Clark starting in his place.

Clark impressed with a try against the Crusaders but there’s no guarantee he’ll retain the spot this week, something he admitted he was still adjusting to.

“That's the situation we're in with the squad we've got,” he said.

“We've got a lot of great outside backs so a lot of competition for spots, which is always a good thing so I'm sure it's a good headache for Gibbo and the coaching staff to have.

“Unfortunately for us, you're not cemented in the spot all the time.

“That's what we can do at training, just keep pushing each week and hopefully get a spot on the weekend.”

The Waratahs’ attack looked the best it has this season against the Crusaders, highlighted by a strong performance from Israel Folau, and Clark said that was down to playing smart rugby.

“I think we were quite smart in the way we played on the weekend,” he said.

“It was a greasy ground, bit of rain around.

“I thought we kicked the ball quite well, in comparison to previous weeks but I still think there's heaps of room for improvement.

“We, in previous years, worked off the back of our attack and it's been our point of difference so I think we still have a lot of room to get back to what it was so hopefully this week can see a bit more patience with the ball and build some phases and hopefully get a few attacking strike plays going.”

The Waratahs take on the Sunwolves on Friday night at McDonald Jones Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.