UPDATE Super W: "Mixed emotions" for Waratahs after third-straight title

Super W
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by Beth Newman

UPDATE: Waratahs coach Campbell Aitken says there's "mixed emotions" for his team after they claimed their third Super W title.

Rugby Australia confirmed on Friday afternoon that the competition finals, which had already been postponed to be potentially played in late May, would not be played due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Super W teams did complete their regular season and with the Waratahs sitting on top of the ladder undefeated after the four round robin rounds, they were declared the champions.

Aitken said he was please with his team's work in 2020 but felt they still had one more big statement in them.

"It is mixed emotions for us, obviously I'm happy for the players and staff after all the effort they put in but disappointed we didn’t get a chance to play in the grand final and put on a show for our home fans.

The Waratahs held off all challengers in the regular rounds but just scraped over the line against Queensland in a 13-10 thriller at Ballymore.

Queensland were widely tipped to be the team facing New South Wales in the final and Aitken said they were keen to try and make a statement in the final.

"We won that game but we didn’t play any where near as well as what we are capable of," he said.

"So I think we left that ground feeling disappointed with our performance and we certainly went away from there with a determination that we'd right that in the final."

Despite the abrupt end to the 2020 season, Aitken said his focus had already turned to planning for 2021, which will culminate with the World Cup in New Zealand.

"We’ve certainly got a lot of goals for 2021, there's a big year for a number of girls with the World Cup coming up and I know everyone will be looking to peak to stay ahead of the pack and I think we actually potentially moved farther away from the pack.

"I felt like we moved on from last year from our performance level and hope to do the same again next year."

While the Waratahs were already through to the decider, Queensland and the Brumbies were set to play off to face NSW in the title decider and now won't have the chance to do that.

Brumbies coach Adam Butt said it was difficult news to hear but was quick to put the situation in context with the rest of the world's problems right now.

"It was a bit disappointing, obviously the players are disappointed, and we the coaching staff are disappointed as well but somethings are bigger than rugby," he said.

"Congratulations to the Waratahs, they were the best team all year."

Butt said he felt this year's tournament was more intense than the previous iterations and a finals series would have been the chance to showcase that.

I thought it was faster, much faster and the players are much fitter, you see their body shapes change  and the product the competition's getting tougher no doubt about it.

"You can’t make a mistake or it’s going to cost you.

"It would have been pretty clean fun footy in the finals so it's a shame we didn’t get there but I think we saw classy players and some strong athletes this season."

Queensland captain Lori Cramer said the decision was somewhat expected after so many events around the sporting globe were cancelled.

"Everyone is disappointed but given the nature of what is happening in the world, we have bigger things to worry about and I think we expected it after events like the Olympics were postponed.

“We were confident for the finals series. We had already secured a win over the Brumbies and if we won the two-v-three playoff, we were then on track to push NSW in the final.

“We have girls who are working, some girls who are at home being mums and others who have unfortunately lost their jobs. Everyone is dealing with the situation differently so it’s important for us to continue to support each other.

“Ideally we would like to see some club rugby return at the back end of the year, as well as some potential Wallaroos Tests so we can get some high-quality rugby in before the World Cup next year.”

Currently, all community and club rugby has been postponed until June 1 while the July internationals, including the Wallaroos-Canada match in Townsville, are under a major cloud.

This article doesn't represent the views of Rugby Australia or its affiliated state and member unions.