Waratahs looking for vengeance against Reds

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs halfback Jake Gordon says NSW wants vengeance for their round one loss to the Reds as they prepare to host Queensland at the SCG this weekend.

NSW's stranglehold over the Reds ended at a run of 11 games when they conceded a 32-26 loss to Queensland in Brisbane in their opening Super Rugby AU match.

That match up was a fiery one, a tone that was set early by Waratahs backrower Lachie Swinton, and something that the then-injured Gordon felt even as a spectator.

Swinton has been arming up for this game, practising his tackles on pillowcases at home according to Gordon.

Ahead of that competition opener, the Waratahs had NSW Origin legend Paul Gallen address the group but Gordon said the thought of that round one match and facing the Reds was enough to keep them going this week.

"It's not a great relationship between the Waratahs and the Reds and this week we've really ramped up the contact," he said.

I definitely think after that first game, the fire's in the belly," he said.

"We've seen at training this week the boys are really ready to go and excited to put on a really good performance.

"There was a lot of feeling in that game. They'd lost 10 in a row so I guess it was time they got their win under the belt but for us we probably, after reviewing that game, was probably a little bit of heat in that game and we're looking to bring in this match definitely this time we play them."

The Waratahs have just one win from the first five rounds of the competition but fell just one point short of competition leaders the Brumbies in their clash a fortnight ago.

That Brumbies contest was a far cry from NSW's most recent outing, a 29-10 loss to the Rebels before their bye.

Discipline has been a consistent issue for the Waratahs, who have been the most penalised side in Super Rugby AU.

Gordon said that issue was frustratingly a reflection of some poor effort rather than anything else.

With effectively two preseasons this year, given the COVID shutdown, fitness should not be a factor for any team, Gordon instead putting the issue down to "mental lapses". 

"After the preseason we had over that Christmas period, that was th hardest preseason I've been involved in," he said.

"Then obviously that Super Rugby competition gets postponed and then we almost go through a preseason again where our running numbers, from what I've been told, are superior to other Super Rugby teams, so we do find that frustrating.

"It's almost like a mental lapse where we're waiting for something to happen rather than focusing more on yourself and doing your best role in the team, whether that be getting back on side or making that tackle, making a conscious effort to get out of the way."

Gordon made his return from injury in round four after a long layoff with a hamstring issue, coming off the bench against the Rebels.

The 26-year-old will be competing with Mitch Short for a starting spot after successfully making it through his first game back, as they prepare to take on in-form QLD halfbacks Tate McDermott and Scott Malolua.

Malolua was picked ahead of McDermott last weekend and Gordon said whoever got the nod for this weekend would be a threat.

The Reds take on the Waratahs on Saturday August 8 at the SCG, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy tickets here. Buy a Kayo Sports subscription here.

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