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NSW Waratahs won't rest on laurels when it comes to lineout issues

Mufti day: The Waratahs trained in their club kits on Monday.

Mufti day: The Waratahs trained in their club kits on Monday. Photo: Ben Rushton

The Waratahs will zero in on their set-piece this week to arrest an unexpected decline in quality there this season. 

While the NSW lineout improved in the second half of the side's 28-23 loss to the Brumbies on Saturday, the Waratahs' scrum also struggled.

And while referee Jaco Peyper's predilection for leisurely resets also appeared to hamper the Waratahs' late comeback, second-rower Kane Douglas said there were no excuses for the side's recent lack of consistency. 

"We were just patchy, there were some where we looked all right and some where we didn't," Douglas said. "We've tried to address that consistency and be better on every one, not just think we did good on the last one so we can rest on our laurels.

"It's probably just about doing it more at training and making it more of a focus so it's second nature out there." 

Coach Michael Cheika is expected to keep faith with the starting team that lost in Canberra when he names the squad to play the Rebels on Tuesday, with some tinkering in the front row the only possible change. He may also shuffle the bench to give midfield option Jono Lance or back-rower Tala Grey their opportunities. 

Grey, who moved back to Australia from France to join the Waratahs this season, would replace Stephen Hoiles, but the latter's lineout expertise is the stumbling block in that decision.

The Waratahs benefited from captain Dave Dennis' return from injury but need all the help they can get after two unexpectedly wobbly displays early in the season. 

Douglas has been a consistent performer so far, notching three 80-minute performances and impressing with his work-rate. 

The loss of Mitchell Chapman in the pre-season has limited Cheika's options in the second row, but Douglas has combined well with both Jacques Potgieter and Will Skelton. 

"There's always a few things you want to work on ... I jammed in on who I thought was going to be the ball runner [Sam Carter] and they passed it to [Stephen Moore], but I've been sort of happy," he said.

"I know I've been working hard and as long as I keep my work-rate up and do the things you don't need talent for getting to a ruck, working back – everything else will come."

Meanwhile, the NSW Rugby Union announced Magners Irish Cider as the naming rights sponsor for this year's Shute Shield, which kicks off at the end of the month. It is the first time since 2010 the competition has had a naming rights sponsor.


4 comments so far

  • The Shute shield is kicking on, and with the right investment has potential.
    -AFL and NRL don't have a national 2nd division. In fact only basketball does with the SEABL.
    -They should have a champions league style, where the best teams in Sydney,Brisbane,Canberra,top team from Melbourne,Hobart,Adelaide,Perth, have a champion's league comp. Would be cheaper, as established clubs, as opposed to starting up new NRC clubs. Could be an expensive flop.

    Of Sydney
    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 12:58AM
    • Dude, the second divisions are essentially the WAFL, SANFL and the VFL, very tough competitions with clubs that are 120 years old in many cases. The AFL dont need a second division. Grand Finals in Perth still attract +43,000 crowds. Local derbies over there get better crowds than most NRL games.

      The AFL also have a "champions league comp" where the top sides from those 3 states play each other for the Foxtel cup, really good standard of footy.

      Its a bit tougher with union, but I think they can have an under 23 comp played ever second sunday between 2 regional Brisbane and 4 Sydney sides with the ACT and Melbourne thrown in. Test players can have a run if they dont get a game on Saturday.

      In my opinion Sydney simply has too many club sides which dilute the talent, I used to watch the Shute Shield and the top games were great, Easts versus Uni was worth watching, Randwick always has half a dozen Wallabies playing for them. Even my Kiwi buddy admited it was a a good standard, and he doesnt have many good things to say about Aussie sport (underam incident from 200 years ago still irks some of them )

      But 16 sides playing week in week out when they have to compete with the NRL , AFL and now the Wanderers?? ?? Hmm.. not sure about that.

      They should break it down to 2 divisions, ten teams for the first, and 8 for the second, promote the premium product, one of the clubs has hardly won a game in 3 years, no one wants to tune in to watch them play (sorry, its true)

      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 12:19PM
    • Maybe Magners is keen on sponsoring the NRC too? Even so I also wondered again why we are doing the NRC instead of looking to existing club teams for a national comp, the ones that have produced the majority of our players and especially now that we have 5 Super rugby teams. But I do hope the NRC goes well.
      Folau in Sydney Uni colours...........

      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 2:16PM
  • This clash should be a classic close encounter!
    The Rebels will almost mimic the Brumbies approach and again rush up on Beale and AAC, forcing the Tahs to resort to chip kicks or relying in the forwards to continue to suck in the Rebels players.
    Therefore this game will come down to Foley and how he adjusts to what the Rebels defense presents and how he counters it. A good flyhalf will give himself two/three options on the run, being backline move, inside pass to a forward runner or tactic kick.
    I'd like to see the Rebels attack Beales channel and really test him defensively, though be cautious of Hooper defending at 10 while also running it wide down Alofa's wing.
    The set piece will be very decisive. I feel Pyle, Jones and Higginbotham will be a factor in lineouts shutting down attacking momentum near both goal lines. The scrums are a mystery at thr moment. Whoever is the official will need to be on his game and assest the properly. Both Benn Robinson and Laurie Weeks were under pressure on the weekend and need improvement.
    Burgess vs Phipps: whatever scrumhalf snipes more be a bigger factor and score a try. The Tahs have been slightly lazy around the ruck area.
    I'd like to see more midfield bombs put up to really test Folau which will always open the game up if a miscalulation is made.
    Both teams will be being punished at training this week in an effort to get back on the winning card yet the Rebels being the better defensive team should lift and hold out the Tahs in a close encounter. 19-17

    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 8:22AM

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