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Maul set-ups will be key, says Polota-Nau

''I think set-piece was OK except for the mauls" ... Tatafu Polota-Nau.

''I think set-piece was OK except for the mauls" ... Tatafu Polota-Nau. Photo: Brendan Esposito

THE Waratahs are honing their maul in preparation for a hostile battle of wits and power against Queensland this weekend.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau said the maul had been pinpointed for tweaking, leading into the Brisbane match, after being used to varying degrees of success against the Crusaders in the Waratahs' trial match last week.

''I think set-piece was OK except for the mauls - we need to make sure we fix them because the Crusaders did really well to penetrate and stop us from attacking in that regard,'' Polota-Nau said.

He may be a harsh critic, considering prop Paddy Ryan's try was scored off a well-executed maul in the final 10 minutes of the match. But a much earlier attempt was defused easily by the Crusaders and Polota-Nau said the side needed more ''clarity'' early on in the move.

''It's just the clarity. We were more worried about the set-up than mauling to score, so we had a good yarn in the sheds at half-time about making sure we get that right because it's a crucial weapon in our artillery, particularly against the Reds, and hopefully we can exploit that side of things,'' he said. ''Forwards-wise, the efforts were great … Being the first hit-out, there was some confusion as to where we were going.''

The Reds will again be missing James Horwill in the second row, with Adam Wallace-Harrison expected to partner again with Rob Simmons.

''I think it took [Queensland] a bit of time to get into the game,'' Polota-Nau said.

''They ran quite well. I just think there was a bit of a no man's land for them in terms of forwards not knowing where to go and they didn't know what to do when they dropped the ball.''

Polota-Nau said he expected the usual ''hostility'' from his front-row counterparts.

Though much has been made of Horwill's absence, as well as the absence of Test halfback Will Genia, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said he did not believe the missing Wallabies would weaken the Reds.

''For every hole left by an experienced player, there's a young guy who wants to take his jersey - and I saw some of those players who played for Queensland in those places the other night, a guy like [Jake] Schatz, [and Adam] Wallace-Harrison is not a younger player but he's stepping right into the fold,'' Cheika said.

''They got stuck right in and I was very impressed with the way the breakdown was contested. I think if the Australian teams keep hunting at the breakdown like those two were last night, hopefully we can too. Then we're going to be a lot better off than the other provinces as well from the other countries.''

Arguably NSW has the edge there, with former Brumbies back-rower Michael Hooper adjusting quickly to life in the Waratahs set-up.

But the Reds boast Liam Gill, Schatz and Ed Quirk and, while the Brumbies most often won the battle at the breakdown last weekend, there is no doubt Queensland will be doing their homework this week.

Cheika said he expected ''confrontation, aggression, good body height'' and a willingness to get up and back into position as soon as was humanly possible.

''If you want to have an aggressive style of play, the ruck is where you have to be,'' he said. ''It's all in the rucks and in the tackle, how hard you can be, so there's going to be a lot of that.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
NZL 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs ARG 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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