Super Rugby

Gibson : Waratahs have to beat the Chiefs…




Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson has said that his Super Rugby team must beat the Chiefs in Sydney this weekend or they can probably forget about winning the Australian Super Rugby Conference.

The Waratahs will face Super Rugby’s table topping side for a second week running but this weekend they will have home advantage at Allianz Stadium.

The team that finishes top in the Australian Super Rugby Conference is gauranteed a place in the play offs and it’s looking increasingly likely that there will not be a second qualifier from Australia as the New Zealand teams are well ahead in the race for the Wild Card spots.

In their remaining fixtures the Chiefs face the Chiefs (home), the Sunwolves (away), the Hurricanes (home) and the Blues (away).

They are in a battle for the top spot in the Australian Conference with the Brumbies who have matches remaining against the Sunwolves (home), Reds (home), Blues (away) and Force (home).

The Waratahs currently lead the Australian Conference on 31 points and the Brumbies are hot on their heels with 29 points and given the current standings it appears the Brumbies far easier route to the top in Australia.

The Hurricanes currently occupy the final Wild Card spot and they have matches remaining against the Highlanders, Blues, Waratahs and Crusaders so if they fall apart the Waratahs could overtake them.

“We have always known the last few games for us is going to be tough,” Gibson told The Daily Telegraph.

“But if you are going to do it, you have to do it via a tough path generally. We know this Friday is, I wouldn’t say season defining, but certainly in terms of the Australian conference it is a huge game.”

“For us we know we have to win our home games, that’s an absolute given, to be competitive in the conference in particular. To qualify we know that at a bare minimum, we have to win home games, and that’s this Friday.”

Gibson said that the Waratahs will be focused on winning clean out ball which will give them the opportunity to attack more often.

“We struggle whenever our line out and our set-piece is disrupted,” Gibson said.

“That’s a feature of games we have lost against New Zealand teams. Not having that source of possession can hurt us.

“That will be a big focus for us; to be able to fire some shots in attack, more than anything.”

“The Chiefs are the benchmark for their work off the ball. A feature of New Zealand sides at the moment is the amount of defensive men they have on their feet, and working hard,” he said.

“To beat them you have to work extremely hard and be very accurate with your skills. The Chiefs have shown they have a real ability to hurt you in broken field play, off turnover ball.”

Gibson said that the only injury concern the Waratahs have is No.8 Jed Holloway, who hurt his A/C joint again but the coach is confident the back rower will be fit to play again this weekend.

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