JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Turn off leading lights and Waratahs will leave Reds in the shade

Date

Matt Burke

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Rugby season kicks off

Greg Growden and Steve Samuelson are back to breakdown the first round.

PT0M0S 620 349

Different jersey, different coach, different players but the same thing applies when the Waratahs run out at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night: a win is a must.

The first game of the year against Queensland, the auld enemy from the north, will provide the energy to get the Super Rugby season off to an emotional start.

The preparation of both teams has been disrupted by injuries but that is something you have to work through. Teams that take a holistic approach will benefit throughout a long season.

"What Horwill brings to a game is his presence, his ability to win lineout ball and the options he provides around the ball players."

"What Horwill brings to a game is his presence, his ability to win lineout ball and the options he provides around the ball players." Photo: Getty Images

The Waratahs, under new coach Michael Foley, have already fielded questions relating to the state of play. Are we going to see the same as last year? My sources tell me they have made advances and are quietly confident of playing a game that will suit each opposition. Remember that running the ball for runnings' sake is not always the right thing to do. The French showed that in the World Cup final instead of focusing on taking the right options.

The Tahs' biggest hurdle tomorrow will be to shut down two of the Reds' best - captain James Horwill and Will Genia.

What Horwill brings to a game is his presence, his ability to win lineout ball and the options he provides around the ball players. If the Waratahs defend the lineout at two and four it means they have to throw to the back.

The Waratahs know there are limitations there and should have a three jumping pod strategy to upset the rhythm of the Reds.

Genia is a special player. But is he just half of a dynamic duo? Without Quade Cooper, how well will he work with Michael Harris? Genia will have to take more responsibility directing the troops. He seems to have expanded his kicking game around the ruck area. The problem in Australia is there is not enough focus on making this area attacking and it can come at the expense of running the ball. In effect, it will be free ball to the Waratahs to look for a counterattack.

A new season and some new dynamic players should allow the Waratahs to play what confronts them. Because of injuries, some younger squad members will be at the coal face tomorrow. My advice is to enjoy the occasion and relish the ball-in-hand opportunities.

This could be the chance to see some depth in the Waratahs attack. The laws regarding the defending team being behind the last feet at ruck time seem to get a little bent. The players who are going to penetrate the defensive line need to be given some time and space.

This doesn't mean a player should throw a pass five metres from his opposite man, but rather force him to commit by using speed and angling the running lines. This gives the ball player time with the ball in hand.

Centres Tom Carter and Rob Horne have big responsibilities in getting to the advantage line and creating confusion. It is time for them to stand tall on the big stage.

The truth is the Waratahs are under pressure before the season has begun - from their own expectations, and the massive pressures from the supporters and media.

They are also under pressure to take a big step forward under Foley and he expects an understanding of where they should be on the field at certain times. He expects them to execute a game plan and change if things are not going to plan.

This will be the mark of the Waratahs whether they have progressed and will evolve into a winning team.

2 comments so far

  • How is it in the shade then Matt??
    There are few things better than absolutely flogging the 'Tahs but one of them is to steal the win as the siren is sounding AND to do it in Sydney. It ain't over till it's over !
    I think you demean Genia to suggest that he is less without Cooper. The truth is that Cooper got to be what he became because he had Genia. I've seen them all since Catchpole my boyhood hero and I think Genia is the best I've seen. Different game now for sure but I go to would watch any game he was playing.

    Commenter
    Happy me
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    February 25, 2012, 11:55PM
    • Matt, another fluffy waffle filled with over used cliches. You have the privilege to contribute intelligently to the rugby conversation, please use it.

      Commenter
      youmetown
      Location
      japan
      Date and time
      February 26, 2012, 5:56PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Related Coverage

      Rugby season kicks off (Thumbnail) Rugby season kicks off

      Greg Growden and Steve Samuelson are back to breakdown the first round.

      Playing favourites: sorting out leaders of the pack from the also-rans

      The 2012 Super Rugby season gets under way tonight when the Blues meet the Crusaders in Auckland. The Herald's chief rugby correspondent, Greg Growden, runs the rule over all 15 teams, with analysis from Matt Burke.

      Hangas and brash: Unsung No.10 unfazed by Tahs captaincy

      A BACK-UP five-eighth who did not make the eight-man Waratahs leadership group will captain NSW tomorrow night.

      Palu ready to bring pain at last

      WARATAHS enforcer Wycliff Palu loves hurting Queensland opponents. Come tomorrow night, the No.8 will have more motivation than ever.

      Wallabies fear Scots could inflict Samoa mark II

      Wallabies management are concerned there may be a repeat of the Samoa debacle if they are unable to prepare properly for their opening Test in June against Scotland. It will be impossible for Robbie Deans to pick his best players for this international, because of the Super Rugby round being held a few days earlier. He will instead be forced to rely primarily on Reds and Force players, who have the bye that weekend. Adding to the concern is that only four days later, the Wallabies play another Test against Wales - which will involve a different line-up. Disharmony is a possibility because of changed line-ups, while the lack of time to prepare for Scotland will work against Deans and co. Plus, the Scotland party will involve former Wallabies assistant coach Scott Johnson, who knows Australian rugby backwards. The Wallabies certainly don't want a repeat of last year's fiasco when they rest

      Related Coverage

      Super Rugby 2015

      Round 1
      Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
      BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
      Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
      LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
      BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
      BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
      WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
      REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
      HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
      RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
      STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
      SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
      FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
      Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
      CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
      REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
      Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
      LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
      BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
      Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
      RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
      STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
      FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
      Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
      HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
      RED vs BRU 29 Stats
      Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
      STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
      CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
      REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
      SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
      WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
      RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
      HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
      WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
      Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
      BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
      HUR vs STO 18:35WS
      REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
      BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
      SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
      LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
      WAR vs STO 20:40AS
      FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      BUL vs RED 04:10Loftus Versfeld
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
      HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
      BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
      FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
      CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
      BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
      WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
      RED vs HUR 17:05SS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
      BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
      HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
      REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
      BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
      REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
      FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
      STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
      RED vs REB 20:40SS
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
      WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
      RED vs SHA 20:40SS
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
      WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
      FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
      STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
      BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
      HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
      FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
      LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
      FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
      BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
      RED vs CHF 20:40SS
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
      STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
      REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
      CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
      WAR vs RED 20:40AS
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
      SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Hurricanes 6 6 0 0 85 27
      Brumbies 6 4 2 0 73 20
      Sharks 7 4 3 0 11 19
      Chiefs 7 5 2 0 46 24
      Bulls 6 4 2 0 24 18
      Waratahs 6 4 2 0 36 18
      Highlanders 6 4 2 0 22 20
      Stormers 6 4 2 0 15 16
      View all
       
      Featured advertisers