McKenzie turns the attention to Nucifora



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Under pressure Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie has turned the attentions away from his own team’s inability to score tries to this week’s opposition coach David Nucifora of the Blues by claiming that they will be “anxious” about their own Super 14 try scoring drought.

It has been widely reported that McKenzie’s job is on the line after his team have failed to inspire excitement on the field as they try to fill the stadium in order to pay bills.

Last week was much of the same in the Waratahs dour 23-19 victory over the winless Cheetahs where the home team won but were outscored by three tries to two.

In order to deflect attention from his own troubles McKenzie is pointing at the Blues problems.

‘The Blues can create tries out of nowhere (but) they haven’t been getting much happening in the last three or four weeks and they’ll be anxious to be doing a bit better so hopefully we can get some pressure on them and sort of scratch at that anxiety,’ McKenzie told AAP.

The Waratahs coach was referring to the Blues also being outscored three tries to two in their 23-21 win over the Bulls on Saturday. The Blues won thanks to a late drop goal from Nick Evans (why didn’t he do that in the world cup against France? ).

A week before last the Blues scored one try in their match against the Stormers winning 17-14 in the last minute with a penalty kick.

Those results caused Blues coach David Nucifora to lash out at match officials’ policing of the breakdown.

‘You’ve got to watch those two games and say, ‘Well, what works?’,’ McKenzie said.

‘Obviously the last two teams to play them have put them under a fair bit of pressure so it would be silly not to look at that and say there’s an effective strategy.

‘Whether we choose to do that or not’s another question but you’ve got to recognise what’s effective and if (Nucifora’s) annoyed by it then that’s probably not a bad thing.’

McKenzie’s comments will spice up an already tense rivalry between the two former Wallabies coaching job applicants. What has added to the situation is a TVNZ report today that Nucifora had denied rumours he was in the frame to replace McKenzie at the Waratahs.

At the end of the day, the truth of the matter is that the Blues are third and they have picked up three bonus points for four tries in a match. The Waratahs on the other hand have none.

McKenzie said his side needed to strike a balance between a tight game and his employers’ wish for attacking flair in order to fill the stadium.

‘Discipline might be a slightly better word (than ‘tight’),’ he said.

‘It doesn’t mean you’re not going to use the ball. In terms of discipline we need to control the ball a bit better than we did last week. That doesn’t mean we can’t express ourselves either.

‘You can get big scorelines in this comp if you lack discipline. That doesn’t mean that you have to play stodgy but you’ve got to make sure that you do the right things at the right time. There’s a balance and we’ll chase that balance.

‘The pendulum’s swung to both sides for us, we’ve got to try and find a happy medium.’

*In other ‘Tah news McKenzie said forward David Lyons would be in contention for his 22-man squad for the Sydney Football Stadium match after returning from a broken leg injury.

‘He’s hasn’t played a lot of footy but we’ll definitely consider him as an option coming at least into the 22,’ the coach said.

‘He’s a very experienced player with 99 state caps so that’s something to consider anyway in terms of where we’re going.’



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