Waratahs plan to shut out Cheetahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs plan to shut out Cheetahs

By Adrian Warren 02/04/2010 03:15:06 PM Comments (0)

Yet to win in Australasia after four years, South Africa's Cheetahs will face a NSW Waratahs team determined to rediscover their defensive steel at the SFS on Saturday.

The struggling Cheetahs, who have won just two out of six games this season, have lost all of their previous 18 Super rugby fixtures in Australia and New Zealand.

The Waratahs have risen to fourth on the back of four straight wins, but have worked extensively on defence this week after leaking four tries to the powerful Blues last week.

With the Cheetahs boasting blistering speed on the wings, NSW are determined to limit the visitors' opportunities.

"They (the Cheetahs) are confrontational up front but also have the ability to play with width, so we have to be on top of our game and we have a strong defensive focus to try and shut that down," acting NSW captain Dean Mumm said.

"You bring a ruthless attitude in defence and you tend to bring that to your whole game and hence the focus for us this weekend."

NSW coach Chris Hickey said it was important his team showed no complacency as the Cheetahs could be difficult to play against.

"They try and negate what you are doing to a large degree and sometimes when you play against a team like that it's very easy to lose your strategies and you actually find you end up playing their game," Hickey said.

Both teams are missing a couple of their premier back rowers with the Waratahs lacking skipper Phil Waugh and damaging runner Wycliff Palu, while the Cheetahs are without skipper Juan Smith and Heinrich Brussow.

Hickey said he was looking for Mumm, backrowers Dave Dennis and Ben Mowen and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau to pick up the ball-running slack left by Palu's absence.

The Waratahs were wary of relying too much on Polota-Nau, who took on the bulk of the ball carrying duties when Palu missed a recent match against the Force.

"Tatafu was doing more than he needed to against the Force, I think we need to share it further across the tight five," Mumm said.

With the bye looming following next weekend's away clash with perennial heavyweight the Crusaders next week, recalled back rower Mowen stressed the importance of the Waratahs maintaining their recent momentum.

"We have a massive focus on finishing off before the bye with straight wins," Mowen said.

After dropping three homes games last year, the Waratahs are unbeaten on their own turf in 2010.

"We're building towards the back end of the season which is probably something in the past we haven't done, we've plateaued in the middle," Mowen said.

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