Hurt and humiliated by the Western Force at the start of the season, the NSW Waratahs are determined to go into the rematch in Perth on Saturday with the right attitude against Super Rugby’s last-placed side.
The Force caused a major boilover in round one with a shock 25-13 bonus point win over the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney.
The result represented the only win of the season so far for the Perth-based team, who have since suffered a franchise record ten straight losses.
Conversely the Tahs have won three straight and seven out of nine since losing to the Force.
“We were humiliated (by the Force)and that really hurt,” Waratahs coach Michael Cheika told AAP.
“In my other roles (as Wallabies coach), I’ve watched all of their games and they’ve been unlucky and close in a lot of games.”
Waratahs captain and lock Dave Dennis will emphasise to his troops the importance of having the right mindset against the success-starved Force.
“The last two times we played them we’ve lost, so we need to really be on our game,” Dennis told AAP.
“They are going to be hungry, they haven’t had the season they’ve wanted.
“So I’ll really be stressing to the boys this week around our mental focus and our attitude and how good we are going to have to play to get the result over there.”
The Waratahs have moved up to sixth and are just one point behind the Australian conference leading Brumbies with a game in hand, after beating them in Canberra last Friday.
“We’re still seeking as a group a more consistent and higher level of performance,” Dennis said.
“There’s still that sense of a little bit of unfulfilment that we haven’t reached our potential, so that’s what’s driving and motivating the team.”
Dennis and four other Test-capped Waratahs displayed the softer side of their nature when they helped publicise the Dove Men+Care Real Strength campaign designed to “celebrate the caring side of modern men.”
“What I’ve experienced within the Waratahs over the last three years, there’s been a definite change around that acceptance of our emotions and feelings towards each other and expressing that,” Dennis said.
“I think that’s been one of our strengths over the last couple of years.
“In the public, outside of the club and in other domains of society, I think it still needs a lot of work.”