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Baxter says Waratahs must follow Tatafu

By Ben Horne 02/03/2011 02:39:33 PM Comments (0)

NSW veteran Al Baxter says hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has set the bar high for the rest of the Waratahs forwards this Super Rugby season.

The 34-year-old prop praised Polota-Nau as the leader of the pack and challenged himself to rise to the No.2's level against the Crusaders on Friday night.

Polota-Nau was man-of-the-match in the Waratahs' thumping of Queensland last week, with the 113kg beast a human wrecking ball in attack and defence.

Baxter said the Waratahs need to go with Polota-Nau if they're to overcome the Crusaders' fearsome pack.

"Hopefully we can all match him, it's one of those things where you see him do it and you all want to have a go yourself," said Baxter on Wednesday, ahead of the Waratahs flight to Nelson.

"Certainly he's one of the players who has been playing really well as well, so if we can keep up with him then we should do well.

"He shows us the way, he leads by example. He's in the leadership group and the way he leads is from the front.

"We'll certainly try and do a bit of what he does."

With the Crusaders full of All Blacks talent up front, Baxter said it was safe to say they would be the Tahs' biggest test so far in 2011.

Baxter said NSW wouldn't be backing down from the physical challenge.

"It's a massive task, these guys are pretty much a full All Black pack so it's probably going to be our toughest test of the competition so far and it'll be a good indication of how we're going," he said.

"We did a fair bit of analysis of where we went wrong in that Stormers game last year (losing semi final) and one was in the physicality.

"We've been working hard on both physical size and also physical presence around the field and hopefully we can keep that going."

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