NSW winger Taqele Naiyaravoro could be in danger of missing Friday’s must-win Super Rugby match against the Blues at Australian rugby’s Eden Park graveyard, after being cited for alleged foul play.
The giant Wallabies back was sin-binned in the 57th minute of Saturday’s home loss to the Hurricanes after tackling five-eighth Beauden Barrett in the air.
Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed the incident had met the red-card threshold for foul play.
Naiyaravoro was also sin-binned in last week’s game against the Sunwolves
He would be a major loss for the Tahs as he is an effective attacking weapon and crossed for a try in each of those last two games.
The Waratahs head into Friday’s match level on points with Australian conference leader the Brumbies, who hold top spot because they have logged one more win.
If the Tahs fail to take any points away from Eden Park, the Brumbies will seal the Australian conference before hosting the Force on Saturday and the Tahs will be eliminated.
Waratahs stalwart Dave Dennis says his side must remain positive and target a bonus point win and banish any negative thoughts about the ground.
The Wallabies have lost 16 Tests in a row to the All Blacks at Eden Park since beating them there in 1986, and the Waratahs record isn’t much better.
They have won just one out of nine Super Rugby games at the venue.
That win in 2009 was their first at the venue in 81 years and only around four of the Waratahs that played in that game will probably line up on Friday.
Dennis, who will shortly leave the Tahs to join English club Exeter, said NSW couldn’t get bogged down in negative statistics.
“History aside, we need five points over there, so if we start thinking of those stats it’s not going to help our cause,” Dennis said.
“We’ve got to go over there and win well.”
Back rower Dennis said having to go for a bonus point would actually suit the Tahs.
“We’re a team that likes to attack,” he said.
“Another side of that is defence as well. I think the Blues showed (last Friday in their win over the Brumbies) how well they can score with offloads, so we ve got to defend well, but also go in with an attacking mindset.”