Waratahs desperate to play spoilers ahead of Rebels clash

Thu, 22/04/2021, 06:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
James Ramm in action for the NSW Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

Nearly 9 months ago, the Rebels ended the Waratahs finals hopes. On Saturday, the Tahs are looking to return the favour.

In Round Nine last year, Dave Wessels' men managed to snatch a bonus point from their 38-32 loss to the NSW side thanks to a 78th minute Matt Toomua penalty.

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This ensured that they only needed a win to secure their first final appearances, getting the job done in the last possible second against the Force.

In 2021, the roles have been reversed, with the Force and Rebels battling it out for finals whilst the Waratahs look to play spoiler.

Whilst they were unable to get the job done in Perth, winger James Ramm believes that this week's game still means plenty for NSW heading into Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

“We’ve talked about it as a team this week and last week against the Force where there was a lot in the media about them having a good performance," Rahm told reporters.

“It’s more about us controlling our emotional energy and turning it inwards. Being aware there is a lot of the line for them but as much, if not more for us.

“To win the final game of the season is really important for us.”

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The magnitude of the game has been drilled into the Waratahs, with assistant coach Matt Cockbain suggesting that the Rebels have geared their squad towards finishing strong given the make-up of their bench.

“We know they are going to be up for it,” Cockbain believes. “The way they have picked their team, having starters on the bench, shows that they want to finish strong so our bench needs to match and better them if we want to come away with victory.

“We’ve also spoken about starting better because our starts against the Force and Brumbies were quite disappointing with their effort.

“We focused on that at training this week to get better and that’s a mindset thing.”

Having experienced two losses in a row on the siren, the Waratahs are focused on finishing the game off and getting a well-deserved maiden victory for 2021.

“They were heartbreaking, especially against the Force,” Ramm said.

“It does take it out of you but it’s the nature of rugby. We have another game this week and we’ve had to look through what went wrong and where we can improve for this week so it’s a pretty quick turnaround.”

“It would be great (to get a win). Everyone’s been working hard to get a victory but we still have to get there. We want to get there and hopefully it’s this week. If not, we aim for the next," Cockbain added.


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The NSW Waratahs host the Melbourne Rebels for the Weary Dunlop Shield on Saturday Night, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport as well as simulcast live on 9Gem,click here to purchase tickets.

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