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Waratahs ready to up the ante against Reds

The NSW Waratahs know they must shift up a gear to keep their winning streak going over the Queensland Reds in Saturday night's Super Rugby derby.

Waratahs ready to up the ante against Reds

The NSW Waratahs know they must shift up a gear to keep their winning streak going over the Queensland Reds in Saturday night's Super Rugby derby.

MICHAEL HOOPER of Australia passes the ball during the Australia Captain's Run at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland.
MICHAEL HOOPER of Australia passes the ball during the Australia Captain's Run at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture:Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs have reset after a spluttering start to the Super Rugby season as they strive to take charge of the cut-throat Australian conference.

Faced with a block of all-important derbies, beginning with Saturday night's showdown with arch rivals Queensland at the SCG, the Waratahs are hoping last week's bye offers a fresh start after a one-point loss to the Hurricanes and scrappy one-point win over the Sunwolves.


"I would've liked a couple more games to keep rolling there but all Aussie teams have to deal with it. We've all had byes, I think, except for the Brumbies early on," Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper said on Friday.

"We've known we've had that bye coming since the draw was released. We've been able to de-load, specifically for guys who didn't play a trial, get to rest the body there and really aim up for what's going to be a big stretch now."

After hosting the Reds, who haven't beat NSW since 2013, the Waratahs face the Brumbies in Canberra, then play the defending champion Crusaders and line up for a second clash against the vastly-improved Sunwolves.

With coach Daryl Gibson unleashing one of the deadliest backlines in Waratahs history, Hooper knows his forward pack must deliver Wallabies regulars Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley sufficient ball.

"There's no pressure on anyone. We just want to go out there and then have some fun," Hooper said.

"It is a super-looking backline, though, isn't it? There's talent just oozing out of there.

"For us, we're a mobile forward pack that want to get the ball to them. That will be our challenge tomorrow night."

Another challenge will be mastering the foreign dimensions after NSW Rugby opted to mark the field east to west to offer fans a better vantage point.

The Waratahs beat the Reds last year on a pitch running north-south.

"Yeah, it's different alignment, a good challenge tomorrow night," Hooper said.

"What I'm told - and I don't kick much - is usually you've got everything in perspective. You've got your rectangle field and the borders around there makes it easy to find touch or look for touch.

"Whereas here, it actually slopes off a bit. They will have a border up around the field, but just for their peripheral it is going to be hard."

AAP


AAP




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