So Where Exactly Is This Waratahs Corner?

Still waiting. Still waiting for 80 minutes of sublime Rugby by the Waratahs. Still waiting for flowing backline movements. Still waiting for back-to-back wins followed by more wins. Still waiting for impressive wins against quality opposition. So if the Waratahs turned a corner when they recruited Cheika, Hooper and Folau then they're still turning it. Indeed they've been turning it for so long now they've pretty much gone full circle.

The match against the Bulls was a case in point. There were flashes of brilliance and some dogged defence. It was enough to keep the Tahs in the game for 63 minutes. But by the end of the game all the old nasty habits had returned. Even the dreaded chip kick was back. There were handling errors, poor lineouts and badly returned kicks. Decision making was questionable, cohesion was lacking and discipline fell apart.

It's under pressure and when fatigued, and there's nothing like altitude to exhaust a player, where instinct takes over, and to a large extent that can't be coached. So the evidence would suggest that a large proportion of the current team just don't have it in them to play the game that Cheika is trying to get them to produce.

A lot of the media would suggest that progress is being made. But take out Israel Folau and Michael Hooper and there isn't that much difference to the 2012 model.

There may be a wholesale shake up in personnel next season but if Folau is a one-season wonder, as is highly possible, then it may not make that much difference.

Waratahs fans, the few that remain, have proved to be a patient lot. They've had little to cheer for in recent months and have lived on hope and scraps of brilliance. The problems are known knowns, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfield, but the solutions are proving harder to nail down. Statistics don't lie. The Tahs have won 4 from 9 so far this season and two of those were against the Rebels and the Force.

So the corner may not be turned at all. Indeed the road to that corner may be a Nullabor Plain away.

UPDATE: Ahhh, so there it is!


Westy said…
80 min of sublime rugby - Cheik! (v Kings)
Flowing backline moves - Cheik! (v Kings, Chiefs)
Back to back win - Chiek! (v Stormers/Kings)
Win from behind - Cheik! (v Stormers, Chiefs)
Refusing penalties to score tries - Cheik! (v Stormers)

not holding my breath but still a better season than last year