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Back to basics for Horror-Tahs

Darren Walton 20/03/2011 05:30:08 PM Comments (0)

The spectre of World Cup-winning South African Jake White taking the Brumbies' coaching reins is sure to add intrigue to Saturday night's vital Super Rugby clash with the NSW Waratahs.

The Waratahs, though, are far more intent on getting their own house in order after slumping to a humiliating 26-3 loss to the Cheetahs at the Sydney Football Stadium.

While the Brumbies are busily hosing down speculation White already has the job - despite chief executive Andrew Fagan flying to Cape Town last week to meet the former Springboks coach - the Waratahs are working feverishly on the mere fundamentals of rugby.

Of chief concern is their dysfunctional lineout after the Tahs lost a raft of possession on their own throws.

Coach Chris Hickey said the problem needed to be rectified well before the Waratahs leave for Canberra desperate to get their campaign back on track after successive defeats.

"Certainly the lineout would be a concern for us because it has been a very good area of strength for us," Hickey said.

"So we will have to sit down and have a really good look at that on Monday."

The Waratahs also conceded multiple scrum penalties and caretaker captain Dean Mumm, who deputised for the injured Phil Waugh in Saturday night's "reality check", said there could be no repeat against the Brumbies.

"The set-piece errors really let us down. We couldn't find time to get our ball back," Mumm said.

"Every time we had it, I think we lost four or five set pieces in a row. That makes it very, very hard to play the game on your terms.

"Maybe we gave them opportunities that perhaps in other games that we wouldn't and certainly we'll endeavour that we won't in the future and that's the challenge for us going forward into the Brumbies."

Peeved fans who stuck around until the bitter end booed the Waratahs from the field after they handed the South Africans their maiden Super Rugby win in Australasia - and first of any kind in 2011.

The three meagre points Kurtley Beale provided from a first-half penalty was also the Waratahs' lowest total recorded at home in 16 seasons of Super Rugby.

Hickey, though, refused to use the previous-round bye as any excuse and said neither should the Brumbies if they lose after themselves having a fortnight off before the high-stakes derby.

"I think we managed the bye reasonably well. We had some down time in the first week off but also worked quite hard," Hickey said.

"So we had a good balance between some rest and recovery and some hard work.

"I don't know how they'll manage their bye. They've got their own issues that they're dealing with.

"It gives you an extra couple of weeks to analyse. That's probably one advantage out of it.

"But it's how you perform on the night and you can't make any excuses about how you're on the back of the bye."

The Brumbies were a club in crisis before their bye, having sacked coach Andy Friend and lost three straight games, but they can leapfrog NSW into second place in the Australian conference behind Queensland with a much-needed round-six win over the Waratahs.

The Waratahs on Sunday were sweating on scans clearing Benn Robinson of a major rib injury after the Wallabies prop was forced off after 16 minutes against the Cheetahs.

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