Tonight the Waratahs – the best rugby side in Australia – will take on the Blues – the worst in New Zealand. With the match being played at Brookvale Oval, this is the perfect opportunity to get a win against a New Zealand team.
An Australian rugby team hasn’t beaten a New Zealand one in Super Rugby since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs in May 2016. The Blues, however, are a hugely understrength side at the moment, with injuries playing havoc with their roster and preventing them from forming a settled side. They have plenty of individual attacking brilliance, but the set plays and defensive cohesion are not there.
Conversely, the Waratahs will have a full strength side with Israel Folau back from injury. They have individual attacking genius coming out of their ears, combined with a number of offensive threats. They will expect at least parity at the set piece, and will back their fitness to allow them to come back if they go down early.
Having the bye last weekend is also in the Waratahs favour. This will be the first of four consecutive games against Kiwi sides, and since they generally play a similar style the New South Welshmen will have been able to prepare well. This will be an ideal introduction before the toughest rugby games on the planet – New Zealanders at home.
That said, the Blues will not be the easy beats that their record this season suggests. They will be desperate not to be the first New Zealand Super Rugby team in 2 years to lose to an Australian side. They also have the potential, if their attack clicks, to outscore the Waratahs – something not many sides can say. If the score starts to resemble a basketball game the Blues have a chance.
The Waratahs will need to focus on their defence and on not giving the Blues a chance. It can be difficult not to be sucked into a fast tempo New Zealand game, but the Waratahs know that they will be able to score plenty of points either way. They should be able to win this one, probably by double digits.