AAP Rugby

Tahs to target tighter Super ball control

By AAP Newswire

NSW Waratahs know they must tighten up their ball control or they will be made to pay dearly by the Super Rugby competition-leading Crusaders.

In their six-point loss to the Brumbies last Friday night the Waratahs' talent-stacked backline again failed to fire with sloppy errors littering their game.

NSW assistant coach Chris Whittaker said the unbeaten Crusaders would take advantage of their mistakes at the SCG on Saturday night.

"Against the Brumbies we just turned over too much ball. When we held on to it we did some OK things but we had 16 turnovers and that's just too much," Whittaker said on Sunday.

"The Brumbies targeted our wide breakdowns and it's something we have to look out for.

"We want to hang onto the ball and play some attacking rugby but if we want to do that we've got to cut down the errors."

The Waratahs are hopeful of having midfield ace Karmichael Hunt available after he was a late withdrawal for the loss to Brumbies with hamstring tightness.

Prop Chris Talakai finished the derby match with a stiff neck and would be further assessed on Monday.

The Crusaders' match against the Hurricanes was called off after the terrorist attacks in Christchurch with the teams sharing the points.

Whittaker expected the defending champions to manage the emotional toll the horrific event had had on their preparation.

"Having a week off doesn't matter too much; they're playing such good football," he said.

"Theyr'e the form team of the competition and it will be a good test of our defence has they throw a lot at you."

The Waratahs will be presented with a report by the SCG on Monday to reassure them that the turf, which shredded during scrums in their week four game against the Queensland Reds, will stand up on Saturday night.

Whittaker said they had no plans to follow the NRL and switch the direction of the pitch to north-south rather than the east-west field laid out for the Reds showdown.

"We'll have a meeting on Monday to work out what's going on but everyone is pretty confident," he said.

"I'm pretty sure the field's going to stay the same way as it gives better viewing for spectators."