Waratahs feel heat ahead of Sharks clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs feel heat ahead of Sharks clash

By Adrian Warren 04/03/2010 04:23:56 PM Comments (0)

NSW five-eighth Daniel Halangahu says the Waratahs will be feeling the pressure when they renew their Super 14 rivalry with the Sharks at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.

Neither side has started the season well, with the Waratahs winning one out of three and the Sharks losing all of their games so far.

Saturday's match is one the Sharks are targeting to kick-start their season, while the Waratahs are determined to gain some momentum after a tough start on the road.

NSW picked up plenty of plaudits following their honourable 48-38 loss to the defending champion Bulls in Pretoria last weekend, but Halangahu admitted the Waratahs would be under greater pressure to perform this weekend.

"We had the benefit of last week of no one expecting we were going to win and so we could come out and there wasn't much pressure on us," Halangahu told reporters before NSW training on Thursday.

"Whereas this week there will be a bit more pressure on us, but we definitely have to perform against the Sharks because they are not a team that you can take lightly given the players they've got.

"This week we definitely need that edge and there's been a bit of spite over the years.

"We played a semi-final against them a few years ago (2008).

"There's been a bit of animosity between the teams I guess, I guess you could say, so this week I think the guys will be up for it.

"The Sharks is a team that we like playing and we are definitely looking forward to Saturday."

NSW coach Chris Hickey said Tatafu Polota-Nau was making good progress from a hamstring strain he suffered last weekend and was optimistic the Wallabies front rower would be right for Saturday.

Hickey surprised some pundits by dropping Ben Mowen to the bench after recalling Dean Mumm from suspension and naming him at lock while shifting Dave Dennis from the second row to fill the No.6 jersey.

"We just felt that having Dean (Mumm) come back and play as a lock was going to be our option for this particular game," Hickey said.

Halangahu was looking forward to developing his new inside-back combination with centres Berrick Barnes and Tom Carter.

Barnes started the season at five-eighth with Kurtley Beale at inside centre and Halangahu on the bench, but Hickey opted to revamp his midfield in South Africa.

"Something we worked out last year is that you've got to give guys an opportunity, you've got to give them a chance to get going and give them a few games together," Halangahu said.

"If we keep chopping and changing, it's not good for anyone. Hopefully we get a few weeks to really develop the combinations."

Wallabies back Barnes has still drifted into first receiver even when listed at inside centre and Halangahu had no problems with that.

"I think you would be stupid not to use Berrick at first receiver at times," Halangahu said.

While much of the pre-match focus has been on the forwards clash, Halangahu stressed the Sharks had some talented backs including Springbok star Ruan Pienaar, who can fill either halves position.

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