NSW Waratahs

Tahs vs Saders preview

Tahs vs Saders preview
Copping it - Beale

Copping it - Beale

This week has told you something about the Australian psyche. The Waratahs are literally coming first on the Super 14 ladder. And yet, from the bagging that they, and particularly the fly-half Kurtley Beale has been getting, you’d think they were coming ninth or tenth like the Force or Reds.

I’m not here to tell you that everything’s perfect in Tah and Beale world, but the frenzy that this has all been whipped up into is now at full ‘over-froth’. I just watched Foxsports The Rugby Club dedicate a whole segment discussing just how shit Greg Martin – Queensland’s media whore du jour – thinks Beale is. This is all out of proportion.  

Wind bag

Wind bag

The truth is that this is still a very good NSW side that deserves to be where it is. Look at the pack this week – an all-Wallaby front and back row. What I haven’t heard many people mention is how for my money the Tahs backline outplayed the Brumbies for the first 30 last Saturday, and that had KB lobbed over a coupla more penalties, the momentum of the game would have been very different indeed.

While some are calling for heads to roll in the Tah back line, I believe it’s more a question of combinations ‘clicking’. It was the same last year, with NSW making a grindingly slow start (I remember a very similar media frenzy), to pick up pace in the second half of the comp.

We’ve also been given a clue where some of those connections are going wrong. Les Kiss (great name) mentioned during the

back to add biff

Carter - back to add biff

week on Ruggamatrix the undervalued role Tom Carter played last season, as the go forward and defensive anchor for Beale. This week we see him starting, and I suspect we may see more and more of this tested combination, leaving a cameo role for Tahu from the bench.

As for the ‘Saders, it’s looking like a long old season for them with Tackles McCaw now out for a slug of time. With him gone they’re still a tough team, but are missing that ‘X-factor’

Gagger says – Tahs by 10

Waratahs: Sam Norton-Knight, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Lote Tuqiri, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (captain), Dean Mumm, Will Caldwell, Chris Thomson, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Damien Fitzpatrick, Dan Palmer, Luke Doherty, Ben Mowen, Brett Sheehan, Daniel Halangahu, Timana Tahu

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Adam Whitelock, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade, Stephen Brett, Andy Ellis, Thomas Waldrom, George Whitelock, Kieran Read (captain), Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Bronson Murray, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett. Res: Dan Perrin, Owen Franks, Michael Paterson, Nasi Manu, Kahn Fotuali’i, Hamish Gard, Blair Cook

NSW Waratahs
@MattRowley

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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