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McKenzie, Waratahs ready for ‘completely different’ Reds in semi-final

Wed, 13/04/2022, 5:45 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Waratahs skipper Grace Hamilton speaks to the broadcast after her team's victory against the Reds

Wallaroos and Waratahs flyhalf Arabella McKenzie is preparing for a 'completely different' Reds outfit to the one they shut out last Saturday.

The Waratahs were dominant in their 45-0 victory, ensuring they will host Thursday's semi final at Eric Tweedale Stadium.

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After their shock defeat to the Fijiana Drua, the playmaker admitted it was a much-needed confidence boost.

“It was just good to get the win, especially after the loss to Fijiana,” McKenzie told Rugby.com.au.

“It was nice to go back to our structures and get the girls’ confidence back up…we were hard on ourselves (after the Drua loss) with a long and hard review session.

“Training (before the Reds win) was awesome because the girls really stuck in, putting their best foot forward before the Queensland game.

“It’s been us and Queensland as the benchmarks for the last couple of years so to have Fijiana in the mix is only doing great things for the game and the Super W competition.”

Despite the crushing win, McKenzie and the Waratahs were refusing to buy into past results with their season on the line, preparing the 'weather the storm.'

“The Queensland girls are going to bounce back and be a whole different side come Thursday,” McKenzie believes.

“I’m pretty sure they will do a lot of review on that game and look at things they can pick up so we’re expecting a completely different side in the semi-final on Thursday.

“We have to weather the storm. We know they are going to be strong the first 20 minutes so it’s about playing our simple footy, playing to our structures and hopefully we can open them up at the back half of the game.”

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The 23-year-old spent the start of the season in Super Rugby Aupiki with Matatū, believing it's helped her game both on and off the field.

“I learnt so much about the game of Rugby and how the Kiwis played,” McKenzie explained.

“The way they apply pressure on each other defensively, I definitely think I have a lot more time on my hands than before I left.

“The physicality as well is a big difference. Those Kiwis have been playing Rugby since they were born and a lot of our girls have only picked up the game in the past couple of years so there’s a big of a gap but it’s closing pretty quickly.”

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