In the mould of Blackadder, no not that one, you are thinking of Todd, I’m talking about the other one, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has a cunning plan… to emulate Jake White and get his possible reasons for potential failure on record 4 days before kick off.
White complained about how skewered and unfair the competition is for the sides ending outside of the top 2 spots. White though, as a cunning strategist, is small fry compared to the brilliance that is Cheika.
Cheika, realizing that because his side ended top of the combined log and therefor he couldn’t use the “we didn’t get an extra week’s rest” excuse, had to dig really deep, and boy, he didn’t disappoint.
In a move that would put Kasperov to shame, he has hatched a plan so cunning that not even Blofeldt could have thought it out.
The coach who has overseen the revival of the Waratahs declined to ratchet up the pressure on Crusaders counterpart Todd Blackadder today, by doubting the seven-time Super Rugby champions are stressed from not winning the title since 2008.
Michael Cheika appeared in a typically jovial pre-match mood as the Waratahs continued their preparations for Saturday’s clash between the competition’s first and second-ranked teams at ANZ Stadium.
During a wide-ranging preamble, Cheika neglected to play mind games with Blackadder, another former hard-nosed forward.
Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw knows from past experience, both sweet and bitter, that a crucial moment can decide Saturday’s Super Rugby final result against the Waratahs in Sydney.
“When it comes down to one or two moments, the teams that are good enough to take those opportunities are the ones that win,” the All Blacks captain said.
“If you drop your guard for one or two moments, you’ll come second.”
He will be making his eighth Super final appearance, the first being in 2002 against the Waratahs when the Crusaders won the competition for the fourth time.
“OUR support goes with the Australian side from here on in – we’d like to see them bring it home,” and with that Brumbies captain Ben Mowen pledged his support for the Waratahs.
It’s a situation unique to Super Rugby within Australian sport where fierce provincial ties are up against a sense of national pride, where this week rugby fans will be encouraged to overlook their dislike for the Waratahs for the greater good of the local game.
The Waratahs will on Saturday host a Super Rugby final for the very first time when they take on long-time nemesis, the Crusaders, at ANZ Stadium.
The Waratahs have predictably named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium as they seek to convert an eight-match winning streak into a maiden title.
With no injury concerns following last Saturday’s 26-8 semifinal win over the Brumbies, head coach Michael Cheika has retained the 23-man squad that provided the success-starved franchise with a historic home final.
If some of the Crusaders’ players needed any extra motivation to win Saturday’s Super Rugby grand final, then All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has provided it.
The Crusaders have eight players in the 31-man Rugby Championship test squad but three omissions were the talking point yesterday.
Hansen dropped Crusaders openside flanker Matt Todd, midfield back Ryan Crotty and first five-eighth Colin Slade.
Todd and Slade have been keeping All Blacks aces Richie McCaw and Dan Carter out of their preferred positions in the Super Rugby arena.
Hansen rang the trio to explain.
There’s something different about these Waratahs, who stand between the Crusaders and their eighth Super Rugby title, and I think I’ve worked out what it is.
They’ve finally stopped telling everyone how good they are; and just set about proving it on the field.
Over the years the drums would always get beaten whenever the Waratahs had a big pre-season or early season, and it was so often just noise. Inevitably they’d fail to live up to their own hype.
This year, conversely, they’ve done the most when they’ve said the least.
OPERATION “Get Carter” is being hatched at the Waratahs’ Moore headquarters this week, with NSW defence coach and hardman Nathan Grey devising a special strategy to smash Crusaders superstar Dan Carter out of the grand final.
The world’s greatest pointscorer stands in the way of the Waratahs first premiership, and the Tahs plan to ensure that Carter has no room to breathe when the teams collide in the decider at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Waratahs enforcer Wycliff Palu successfully targeted Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua in last weekend’s semi-final, and Tahs five-eighth Bernard Foley said they will have similar plans for Carter.
South African Craig Joubert, the referee of the 2011 World Cup final between the All Blacks and France, has been appointed to control the final.
He will be assisted by Australians Steve Walsh and James Leckie.
The final will be contested between the Waratahs and the Crusaders in Sydney, Australia on Saturday the 2nd of August.
He accepted the adulation after scoring one of the most memorable tries of the Super Rugby season to secure the NSW Waratahs’ first home final, but Bernard Foley prefers to dwell on the defensive effort that set up a third title showdown with the Crusaders.
Foley’s completion of a sweeping counterattack in the 76th minute at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night was a belated reminder of the Waratahs’ offensive capabilities – though a bruising semifinal with the Brumbies also highlighted another champion-winning prerequisite: unyielding defence.
As the Waratahs headed for their first debrief today ahead of Saturday’s final at ANZ Stadium, the incumbent Wallabies first five-eighth was still marvelling at his side’s ability to withstand immense pressure and prevent the Brumbies scoring after halftime before they closed out a 26-8 victory.
We’ve got the Super Rugby final we wanted as a tantalising entree to the Bledisloe Cup.
Through the whims of the skewed draw, the Crusaders and Waratahs bypassed each other in the regular season but will slug it out on Saturday for the title as the best side in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Tahs have lost 11 on the bounce against the Crusaders since 2004 yet this season there is more spine about them and more collective heat they can generate although that could be more of the hot air which is generated in the guise of objectivity across the Ditch.
Injured skipper Dave Dennis believes Waratahs’ unity will see them win Super Rugby title.
THE Waratahs must overcome one of the longest losing streaks in professional sport to win their first Super Rugby grand final, but injured skipper Dave Dennis believes his team’s unshakable unity will finally deliver a win and the premiership against the Crusaders on Saturday.
The Tahs have not been beaten the Crusaders in a decade, losing 11 straight games that include their previous two grand finals in 2005 and 2008.
The glory boys, those pretty boys out of Australian rugby, who have a long history of not living up to the hype, are finally delivering on their promise.
History shows the Waratahs always start well and are always full of talent but tend to welter towards the end. What we’re seeing this season is that may not be the case. They finished the strongest in terms of position on the table and form. They are top qualifier; guaranteed home advantage as long as they’re in the competition and it would be pretty tough to say it wasn’t fully deserved.
The first person you choose in the team is the coach. If you had to choose between the best player and the coach you choose the coach. The coach sets the attitude of the team and there’s no doubt Michael Cheika deserves the greatest credit for the turnaround in fortune of the Waratahs. He’s been a breath of fresh air.
Dimension-wise they appear far from clones as professional footballers, yet there is a passing resemblance between Will Skelton and Sonny Bill Williams.
The Auckland-born forwards currently play different codes – though Williams returns to rugby at the end of this NRL season – but they share one skill set: an uncanny ability to offload the ball when under defensive pressure.
Williams propensity to keep the ball alive has been a hallmark of his league and rugby career and now the giant Waratahs lock is also emerging as a dab hand at putting teammates into space.
An enemy turned ally holds the key to the Waratahs’ hopes of securing their maiden Super Rugby championship with a hoodoo-busting victory over the colossal Crusaders.
The Waratahs will tap into the vast knowledge of assistant coach Daryl Gibson, a vital cog in five of the Crusaders record seven Super Rugby titles, in a bid to conquer the champion New Zealanders for the first time in a decade.
The Tahs have lost their past 11 encounters with the Crusaders, including the 2005 and 2008 title deciders, but have identified Gibson’s expert insight into the competition’s perennial superpowers as priceless.
Next week’s Super Rugby Final in Sydney will be about more than just the Super Rugby trophy, it will be a precursor to The Rugby Championship as well.
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks in Sydney on 16 August in what could be a deciding match to determine who will win The Rugby Championship crown for 2014.
The Waratahs have earned a home final beating the Brumbies in the semi final. The Crusaders will travel to Sydney to contest for the Super Rugby title.
The NSW Waratahs’ history-making season is one step from completion with the Super Rugby title favourites hosting the final for the first time after eliminating the ACT Brumbies with a convincing 26-8 semifinal victory at Allianz Stadium tonight.
An eighth consecutive win in 2014 underscored the Waratahs prospects of claiming their first title, though the team that thwarted that ambition in the 2005 and 2008 finals stands in their way.
Waratahs (11) 26 / 8 (8) Brumbies (Final Score)
The Waratahs and Brumbies did battle in the other Semi-Final of Super Rugby 2014 at
Allianz Stadium, Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
It is the Semi-Finals of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Semi-Final games in this Round, as all the other 11 teams have now been dispatched. Both games take place on Saturday 27 July 2014.
It is crunch time, as only the winners advance to the Final on 2 August 2014.
The Crusaders and Waratahs host the Semi-Finals, as top contenders on the Combined Super Rugby Log. The challengers are the Cell C Sharks and the Brumbies, who have had to travel in order to see if they can advance against strong home ground advantage, for the Final.
Only 3 Super Rugby games for 2014 remain!
Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.
Let the games continue….
From the Coogee stairs to the Super Rugby semis, with a smashed door, poker face and sideline stoush in between, it’s been one hell of a ride for the Waratahs under Michael Cheika.
The fiery coach has helped transform NSW from Super Rugby cellar dwellers to contenders, setting the wheels in motion by lighting a fuse under the underperforming Tahs when he took over the reins last year.
But it’s his second season at the helm that has been the real highlight, and not just because he’s helped steer the Waratahs to the Super Rugby minor premiership and within one win of the grand final.
Along the way the fiery former Randwick forward, renowned during his playing days for his aggressive play on field, has grabbed his share of headlines for some interesting off-field antics.
Rugby-Talk’s SuperBru competition for the 2014 Super Rugby tournament is drawing to a close with only three matches remaining.
In last week’s Qualifying rounds JohnR earned the yellow cap with a solid 5 pointer moving him up 12 places to 31st. Carol still leads the pack of hungry wolves chasing at her heels, but refuses to relinquish her coveted 1st spot. Sharks_Lover is still a close second, with less than a point separating the two.
Both Winston Champ and Charo at 3 and 4 respectively have fallen slightly off the pace, with 3,5 and 5,2 points separating them from Carol.
Before making those SuperBru predictions, let’s have a look at some picks, tips and predictions first.
It’S the biggest Down Under derby in 12 years — but is the Waratahs vs Brumbies rivalry the biggest in Australian rugby full stop?
NSW vs Queensland has long been the marquee match-up for Aussie outfits, and with 140 years of tradition to back it up it’s little wonder.
But the battle between the Tahs and their “little brother” from down the road in the ACT might have trumped it in recent times.
Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore has the unique experience of playing the Waratahs both as a Reds player (from 2003-08) and now with the Brumbies.
Way back in 2009, when he had just arrived in Canberra, Moore observed of the Tahs-Brumbies enmity that: “it’s equally as big as the Queensland-NSW rivalry.”
And Wallabies great Stephen Larkham, a Brumbies legend as a player and well on his way to becoming one as a coach, reckons it’s gone even beyond equal status.
Ewen McKenzie says an Australian side winning the Super Rugby crown would be ”as good as it gets” for the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup prospects.
The Waratahs and Brumbies go head to head in a blockbuster semi-final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, with the winners likely to take on New Zealand superpowers, the Crusaders, in the August 2 championship decider.
The Wallabies tackle the All Blacks two weeks later in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.
“Form and confidence, they’re good attributes to have,” McKenzie said after announcing his 32-man Rugby Championship squad yesterday.
“If you’re out there beating your opponents and winning consistently – and that’s what these teams have been doing – and the Wallabies have been doing the same thing.”
Waratahs mascot Tah Man has weighed into the controversy over Brumby Jack’s presence at the Super Rugby semi-final, declaring Allianz Stadium a showpony-free zone this weekend.
As the Brumbies and Waratahs tried desperately to defuse the furore surrounding Brumby Jack’s sideline “ban”, the high-strung NSW mascot could not help fanning the fire. “I love animals and horses but I’m not a fan of showponies,” Tah Man told Fairfax Media.
The Waratahs – Brumbies Super Rugby Semi-Final showdown has been robbed of one of its marquee match-ups, with reports that Brumby Jack has been “banned” from Saturday night’s encounter.
The iconic Brumbies mascot has, according to the Canberra Times, been denied a request to strut his stuff on the field and will instead have to be content with a seat alongside Brumbies supporters in the Allianz Stadium stands.
Jacques Potgieter will start at lock for the Waratahs in this weekend’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Brumbies but coach Michael Cheika thinks Will Skelton could be a matchwinner from the bench.
Hard-running former Springbok Potgieter has got the nod alongside Kane Douglas in the second row for Saturday’s match at Sydney Football Stadium, which will decide who faces the Canterbury Crusaders or South Africa’s Sharks in the final.
The Waratahs and Crusaders will be heavily favoured to advance to a Sydney final, but the two Vodacom Super Rugby play-off qualifiers played this weekend did breathe some much needed life into a competition that is sometimes accused of being too predictable.
As expected, the home teams did advance to next week’s round of semifinals, but it was a close run thing in both Canberra and Durban. More than that, the quality of rugby produced, and the entertainment value, was just what the doctor would have ordered if the goal of a medical consultation was to find out what could increase interest for the remaining two weeks.
Of the two winning teams, the Brumbies and the Sharks, it is the former who should go into the semifinals feeling most upbeat. They relaxed when they thought they had the game won and the Chiefs showed their championship qualities one last time before eventually conceding their run of success had come to an end by launching a brave, gutsy and classy fightback.
Once condemned to playing catch-up, the Chiefs produced some of their best rugby in a while, and may well have won had they shown just a bit of temperance in their commitment to attack, for it was their tendency to concede penalties in their own half by trying to play too much rugby there that cost them the game.
Michael Cheika has shrugged off suggestions that Waratahs stars Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale are vulnerable to offers to defect to the NRL (Rugby League) as the Waratahs build towards what looks to be a sold-out Semi-Final in Sydney next weekend.
After a week in which the minor premiers’ biggest names were linked to moves to Rugby League, the Waratahs confirmed late on Thursday that more than half of the 43,500 seats at Allianz Stadium had been sold just a day after tickets went on general sale.
I’m sure that everybody who has been following the Waratahs and their progress to ending first on the 2014 Super Rugby log will agree that Jacques Potgieter has played an integral part in their rise.
He has been playing with the same robust “kamikaze” style that first got Heyneke Meyer to lure him to the Bulls, and that gave him his three Springbok caps, but he has refined his game at the same time.
As good as he has been to the Waratahs, the Waratahs have been equally good to him. He has evolved as a rugby player and instead of the Bulls forward blueprint of head down and charge, he has been delivering some deft offloads and touches. He is a much more rounded player, and the frightening part is, all within the space of one season.
Speculation is rife in Australian rugby as to whether Israel Folau might be returning to the NRL. Folau and his agent was spotted meeting with the Head of the NRL, Todd Greenberg. In what can almost be described as a plot to a spy thriller, photos were snapped and keyboards frantically clicked to rush the story into print.
At the same time, uncertainty remain about the future of Kurtley Beale, and whether he too might be heading to the NRL.
Do the Waratahs need all this speculation about two of their star players only one week shy of hosting a semi final in this year’s Super Rugby Tournament?
ARU boss Bill Pulver says he is “not dissatisfied” with the departures of several high-profile players this year.