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'Tahs hoping hotel change will pay off

By Darren Walton 26/05/2008 07:14:44 PM Comments (0)

The Waratahs are hoping a change of hotels will bring about a change of fortunes and deliver NSW a long-awaited first Super rugby title.

The Waratahs will escape the growing hype in Sydney and arrive in Christchurch on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's blockbuster final with the Crusaders at Jade Stadium.

But, having won just once in eight visits to Christchurch, the Waratahs have ditched their usual hotel just to "change it up a little bit", according to coach Ewen McKenzie.

The Tahs are also affording themselves an extra day in opposition territory, but McKenzie was playing down his side's altered preparation for the tournament finale.

"There's only like two hotels you can go to," he said. "We've been to the other one plenty of times and never won, so we're at this (other) one.

"It's a good hotel. It's got the best facilities in terms of how we want to prepare.

"But we're not too fussed about that side of it. We're not that superstitious. You've got to go somewhere and we're pretty comfortable we'll get the right space.

"The team rooms and everything will be right. The people will be right and it will give us the best platform."

McKenzie did admit, though, that leaving the Sydney spotlight early Wednesday morning - rather than Thursday or Friday as they have been for away games this campaign - couldn't hurt.

"It might be helpful," he said. "We can over there ... I mean, no-one's going to want to talk to us over there.

"We'll go over there and just prepare and see how we go.

"We've actually been doing a few different things. Given the week and the preparation, we'll go over there and acclimatise and relax."

After a series of sudden-death encounters which could have potentially been McKenzie's last game in charge of the Waratahs, the five-year reign of Australia's popular Super 14 coach of the year - affectionately known as "Link" - will definitely come to an end on Saturday.

But NSW hooker Adam Freier said it was important the Waratahs didn't adopt a "Let's do it for Link" approach to the final.

"We're not playing for Link," Freier said. "We're a squad. Management through to marketing through to each player.

"I think if you played for a certain person, it would probably be a little bit uncalled for.

"No-one's selfish in the fact that they just go out there and do it for themselves.

"We're a big organisation. We've been through a lot the last few months and every person that hugs up in that circle at the end of the game, we're doing it for them.

"I think he'd be disappointed if we were all going out there doing it for him. That's not his role as a coach.

"He knows if we're out there doing it for each other, he's done his job properly."

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