Waratahs wary of Sharks ‘Beast’



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The Waratahs are wary of Sharks player “The Beast” and the best South African scrum in the Super 14 rugby competition, as they prepare for Saturday’s semi-final showdown with the Sharks.

The Waratahs have focused heavily on their scrum this year in training and it has won the mcuh praise.

However, Waratahs and Australia prop Al Baxter says that he is under no illusions about the task facing the Waratahs pack at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.

Baxter says that the compliments for the Waratahs’ pack were nice he took them with a grain of salt and pointed out that their form this year was the fruition of plenty of hard work throughout the season.

“But I think this will be the real test this weekend, because these guys I think are the best South African scrum and have been scrummaging really well,” Baxter told FoxSports.

Baxter rates Zimbabwean-born prop Beast Mtawarira as “an excellent front rower” and noted the 22-year-old former flanker “took apart the Chiefs’ scrum” last week.

“So it’s going to be tough this weekend against the Beast,” Baxter said.

“He’s very very strong, they’ve got an excellent pack and an excellent front row and I think he might be the only non-Springbok in their 22 and I think that’s because he’s Zimbabwean.

“He’s playing really well, the rest of the front row is playing really well, it’s going to be a challenge both technique and strength.”

Beast’s perfomances have won him favour with the Sharks fans in Durban and whenever he touches the ball the crowd can be heard in union shouting “Beast” in deep throated voice.

Another player that is concerning the Waratahs is Ryan Kankowski who has been in excellent form this year and he is set to go up against another form No. 8. in Wycliff Palu who is the Waratahs leading try scorer with five.

“He (Kankowski) is really skilful and really quick, hopefully he’s out there in the backs trying to go round them instead of trying to make me look bad,” Palu joked.

Palu quipped that he had spent too much time out on the wing this season and attributed his form this year to his weight loss and his first injury free season in recent memory.

Waratahs halfback Luke Burgess felt his backline was still to unleash its best form this year and was hoping it would happen this weekend.

“I don’t think we’ve played to our full potential, we’ve been close a couple of times but it hasn’t come together yet,” Burgess said.

“The theory is that we just keep concentrating on the basics and hopefully the experience we’ve gained over the Super 14 season will help us improve.”

He also added that his own combination with five-eighth Kurtley Beale was “coming along slowly” and was wary of the Sharks pair of halves Rory Kockott and Ruan Piennar.

Palu suggested that he wouldn’t mind the NSWRU board reversing its decision to look for a new coach as McKenzie had played a big part in his career and he enjoyed playing under him.



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