Waratahs coach Michael Foley has praised his rookie halfback Grayson Hart after he put in a creditable performance in his first Super Rugby game in three years
Twenty-four-year-old Hart's performance has put regular half backs Brendan McKibbin and Sarel Pretorius under pressure as neither have nailed down the starting position this season.
Hart was something of a surprise selection against the Brumbies and in the 64 minutes that he played he withstood concerted pressure against the men from Canberra.
Coach Michael Foley says that Hart's performance was one of the positives he could take from the loss.
"There were probably a number of little things that let us down but, overall, I thought Grayson, Bernard and Berrick (Barnes) at 12 did a very good job," the coach told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Hart mentioned a "couple of loose passes" but said the appearance was a confidence boost.
"I rushed myself a little bit and … put myself under pressure to make the passes, but I think overall I take a bit of confidence from it," he said.
"I didn't feel out of place, so I think I take confidence in that and, hopefully, I'll get another opportunity - with my confidence built up - to have another go."
"I think the first 20 minutes was really, really fast, and I was blowing big time, but after that, I got a second wind."
Hart was partnered with fullback turned five-eighth Bernard Foley and he said that he felt comfortable partnering Foley, and marvelled at the rookie five-eighth's hunger for the ball.
"He's a massive threat when he's got the ball, and the good thing about Bernard is he always wants the ball, he's always calling for it, and when I do get it into his hands, either he's going to shift it outside to the guys who are dangerous or - like he showed (on Saturday) - he's going to take the line on. I thought he went really well," Hart said.
Coach Foley said that he thought the Waratahs attack was an improvement overall even though they conceded 18 turnovers to the Brumbies' nine.
"There was a couple of times we had the ball when I think we could have done better with it but, overall … against a good defensive side, to get those couple of tries we did I thought we varied our attack," he said.
"We played a little bit down the short side from the lineout, we mauled, we played direct over the gain line. I thought we did a few things that challenged them. "
"A couple of times we didn't get the ball across the line and, again, that's critical in the end result."
"When you're down in their 22 you're only metres out, so (it's) important that you come away with points against good sides."