Tuqiri praised by Waratahs defence coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri praised by Waratahs defence coach

By Adrian Warren 14/04/2008 07:47:58 PM Comments (0)

NSW winger Lote Tuqiri handed out compliments and received some himself as the weary Waratahs recovered from a massive defensive effort against the Force.

The Wallabies stalwart produced an outstanding performance in Saturday's 17-12 Super 14 win over the Force in Perth, which lifted them into the top four.

Tuqiri's efforts drew special praise from Waratahs defensive coach Les Kiss.

"His game last weekend was exceptional, with and without the ball he led from the front," Kiss said.

"If you want to call it in terms of comparison to his past games, I'd say it was his best in probably 12 or 18 games."

Tuqiri said he had drawn confidence from his display in Perth, but was quick to praise the efforts of the Waratahs' `baby backs', including teenager Rob Horne, who made his first Super start.

"It's quite scary how good he could be if that's what he does a few games in," Tuqiri said.

He said the players were a bit "weary" and "flat" following a long travel day from Perth and the exertions of the game.

After vital wins over fellow finals aspirants in the Blues and Force, NSW could face a let down in Saturday's home fixture against the last-placed Lions.

"That's always a danger, but I think we've got enough experience here to deal with that," Tuqiri said.

Kiss revealed the extent of the Waratahs' workload with NSW making around twice the Super average of 125 tackles in a game.

"We had upwards of 250 tackles which is massive in any circumstances," Kiss said.

"(Lock Daniel) Vickerman had 35 tackles, (backrower) Wycliff Palu had 25 and in fact every forward in the game bar one in the reserves had double figures.

"That's unheard of in my time, that's a massive load.

"We will look at how we monitor the load this week.

"I guess one of the pleasing things in the game is we still had guys who were willing to try and attack. Lote had a big game, he took it up on himself to make sure he injected something in attack."

Tuqiri said he tried to encourage young backs like Horne rather than be a fulltime mentor.

"I try to empower them to do what they want to do on a footy field and bring their strength out," Tuqiri said.

Kiss said the Waratahs would not follow the ladder-leading Crusaders' example of resting some key players against the Lions, who have won only one game this year.

"We will go into this game with a full complement, we're also aware the Lions are also targeting us and they will come out guns a'blazing," Kiss said.

He said skipper and flanker Phil Waugh and centre Tom Carter were both expected to be available this Saturday after suffering knocks last weekend.

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