Waratahs

Waratahs will do it for themselves

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Waratahs hooker Adam Freier, has some sympathy for departing coach Ewen McKenzie but said his team are playing for themselves rather than their coach as they head into the Super 14 rugby semi-finals.


McKenzie was told mid-season his contract would not be renewed, even if the team made the semi-finals which was the benchmark set by the NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) before this season.


The Waratahs clinched their third top-four spot in five years under McKenzie and will host the Sharks in a semi-final in Sydney on Saturday after finishing second in the regular season standings.


The NSWRU is not believed to be having second thoughts at this stage about reversing its decision on McKenzie’s departure despite rumours to the contrary, reports the NZ Herald website.


McKenzie said he had not spoken to any NSWRU officials yet but he would be happy to talk shop.


“If there’s an opportunity I’m happy to talk about it, that’s as much as I will say about that, but I will be looking at all my opportunities going forward,” McKenzie said.


“If someone wants to talk to me I’m happy to talk about it but it doesn’t mean the situation is far different now than what it was two months ago.”


Freier, who will be promoted from the bench for Saturday’s game after a wrist injury to starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, said it was disappointing McKenzie would be leaving despite steering the team to the semis.


However, he felt that was “the nature of the business at the moment”.

 

“Ewen has been very professional throughout and that’s just the way he rolls along,” Freier said.

 

“The players are not playing for the coach, they are not doing anything like that, we’re all playing for each other.

 

 “We’ve all bought into something pretty special here and we want to make sure we finish the season.”

Freier felt any talk of a backflip by the NSWRU over McKenzie’s position was just speculation and he thought it should stick by its original decision.


“I think if that does happen, I don’t think it would probably be the right thing on Ewen’s or the NSWRU’s part,” Freier said.


“I think if the decision has been made it’s probably important that everyone moves on with it and I think it’s important that we need to start worrying about the finals series and not too much about next year.”


Freier said he wouldn’t decide whether he would stay with the franchise until the end of the Super campaign.


McKenzie, meanwhile, suggested he was unlikely to make many changes for Saturday apart from the one enforced by Polota-Nau’s injury.


“We’ve got a bunch of guys that have been doing the business for us for some time, so I don’t think we’ll be doing anything radical,” McKenzie said.


He said prize recruit Timana Tahu had “a chance” of starting on Saturday.

 

Polota-Nau was hopeful his wrist sprain would heal in time for him to play in the final if the Waratahs won this weekend.

McKenzie said the Sharks had “moved their game on a little bit” since losing 10-25 to the Waratahs in Sydney in round 11.


The Sharks arrived in Sydney Monday full of confidence after scoring 12 tries while securing bonus-point victories in their last two fixtures.


“I know they will be full of beans, full of confidence, they’ve scored a lot of tries,” McKenzie said.


Sapa – Super14.com

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