Waratahs invoke Leichhardt memories in quest to upset Crusaders

Thu, Feb 29, 2024, 4:22 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Dylan Pietsch Try from Round 1 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

The NSW Waratahs are drawing confidence from their special 2022 win over the Crusaders as they hunt for another upset victory.

The Waratahs' record against the Crusaders when as the 'home' team is exactly 50% in their 15 matches in Super Rugby history.

Read Super Rugby's Offical Program for Super Round HERE

Most recently, the Waratahs upset the eventual champions 24-21 in what would be one of the finest wins under Darren Coleman.

Winger Dylan Pietsch scored the opener in the opening five minutes with a blistering try before they hung on for the win in front of a delighted Leichhardt crowd.

“We’ve talked about it all week how they’re known for their counterattack and their backfield so that’s something we did really well in ’22," Pietsch reflects.

“We’ve got to do all the tough stuff like scrapping for balls, getting dual contact, taking it to them and playing with that free mentality.

“We’re a good counter-attacking team but we kicked a little too much on the weekend so if we can do that on the weekend, it’d be nice.

Whilst this game is technically a home game for the Waratahs, they will surrender the advantage as teams head to Melbourne for Super Round.

However, Pietsch remains confident they can take plenty of confidence from the result, one of ten players in Saturday's starting side from that win.

"I think you believe you can beat any team but (having that winning experience) does help the case because you know how to do it, it’s just about doing it on the day," he explained.

“They won’t miss a beat. Against the Chiefs, they were great so they’ll come out red hot like they have for the last seven wins when they’ve won it."

New recruit Hayden Thompson-Stringer has played all over the world but understands the magnitude of what a win would do for their season after their opening-round defeat to the Reds.

“I think it’s just an opportunity to prove yourself against one of the best teams in the Super Rugby competition," he said.

“Most teams are pretty good in Super Rugby but with the recent success of the Crusaders, it’s a great opportunity to bounce back and prove a point this week.

“The perfect opportunity to prove ourselves.”

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