Come and support us, urges Tahs captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Come and support us, urges Tahs captain

By Darren Walton 14/05/2010 08:44:31 AM Comments (0)

Indifferent to the less-than-sporting antics of their South African rivals, the NSW Waratahs have urged all of Sydney to support their make-or-break bid for a Super 14 semi-finals berth.

The third-placed Waratahs entertain the fifth-placed Hurricanes on Friday night with victory non-negotiable in the last-round encounter at the SFS.

The front-running Bulls look to have scuppered hopes of either the Waratahs or Brumbies hosting a semi-final next weekend by selecting a second-string team for their clash with the second-placed Stormers in Cape Town early Sunday morning (AEST).

But NSW captain Phil Waugh said while Waratahs management may consider protesting against the Bulls resting 14 players if his side beat the Hurricanes, it was imperative the controversy didn't distract the Tahs from the task at hand.

"To be honest, it's about us. There's nothing after Friday night if we don't perform ourselves," Waugh said.

"So (we're) not worried about what the Bulls are doing. Just worried about what we're doing."

The scenario is indeed simple for the Waratahs: win and they'll secure a playoff spot.

"So that's where our focus lies and then we'll see how our cards fall after that," said NSW coach Chris Hickey, before admitting he'd probably rest players too if the Waratahs were in the same boat as the Bulls.

"If you're in that position and you've got that comfort zone, you'd certainly look at resting some players who might be carrying injuries.

"Whether you'd risk 13 ... it doesn't concern me. It's a decision their coach makes.

"Winning Friday night is all that counts."

And Hickey is confident the Waratahs will indeed win after watching them rebound from a listless loss to the lowly Highlanders two weeks ago to notch a record-breaking 46-19 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton.

"One of the things you learn about teams as you spend time with them is if they've got the ability to step up in the big games," Hickey said.

"And I think this is the team that has the mental ability to handle those challenges and perform in big games like Friday night."

The Waratahs have the chance to avenge a costly loss to the Hurricanes in the last round in Sydney in 2006 - just a couple of hours after Wendell Sailor was outed for testing positive to cocaine.

"Certainly here four years ago they took away a home semi-final from us on our own turf and we had to go over there and play them in a semi-final," Waugh recalled.

"They're a tough opponent and so it's important that guys' heads are switched on and that we come here and play."

NSW are unbeaten at home this campaign and Waugh called for fans to again rally around the Tahs in their hour of need.

"Home support is very important, particularly here at the Football Stadium," he said.

"It's great when the crowd gets behind us and we certainly notice when it's a big crowd and when we're surging towards the try line and the crowd gets behind us, it does give the guys a lift.

"It's a great place to play rugby and a great place to watch rugby as well, so hopefully we get a lot of support from Sydney."

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