Whitaker seeking consistency from Waratahs

Darren Walton |

Tane Edmed has been a big positive for the Waratahs.
Tane Edmed has been a big positive for the Waratahs.

The NSW Waratahs are being ordered to man up and do it all again after consigning last week’s dispatch of the champion Crusaders to the history books.

The Waratahs host the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium in their first Super Rugby Pacific home game of the season on Friday night.

Assistant coach Chris Whitaker says it’s crucial to win back the faith of the sometimes fickle Sydney fans with back-to-back victories after too many seasons of erratic performances.

“Consistency is the big thing for us. They’ve probably been guilty in the past of having a good performance and then not backing up the next week,” Whitaker said at Thursday’s captain’s run.

“So they’re all focused this week. It’s been a short week, obviously playing Saturday to Friday.

“So there’s been not much time on the footy field but trying to get upstairs right and getting the head right because if we don’t win after last week, we’re back to square one.

“Last week was a good performance, but we’ve got to put that behind us because the Highlanders are a very tough team, very entertaining team, very dangerous with the ball in hand.”

Flyhalf Tane Edmed was the major star against the Crusaders, slotting seven from seven goals, which ultimately proved the difference in the four-tries-each affair.

Edmed only had one run in the round-one loss to the Queensland Reds, but made 12 by halftime against the Crusaders at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. 

“He just touched the ball more than he usually does. That was a big focus to him,” Whitaker said.

“We play better when he’s in the game and, when he touches the ball, we play a bit off him.

“I like it when he takes on the line. He’s dangerous and deceptive with the the ball in hand, and he can also distribute.”

Whitaker says the Waratahs spoke pre-season about the importance of their No.10, whoever that may be in 2024, be more assertive to try to put the side on the front foot.

“Our 10s probably touched the ball the least out of any 10 in the competition (last year),” the attack coach said.

“So it’s something we want to rectify.

“I don’t think Tane had the opportunities against the Reds just because our ball attention was so poor. We couldn’t build any phases.

“Against the Crusaders, we built some good pressure and hung onto the ball.

“That gives you opportunities for Tane and the outside backs to touch the ball and press.”