Palu forces Tahs to follow his example

When barnstorming backrower Wycliff Palu leads, his NSW Waratahs teammates have no option but to follow.

Wallaby stalwart Palu was at his block-busting best in the Tahs Super Rugby win over the previously unbeaten Hurricanes in Wellington last Saturday.

The 32-year-old Test veteran frequently made ground with some powerful ball carries and pulled off some big defensive hits.

“‘Cliffy’ Palu killed it on the weekend, so we had no choice but to follow him and play the way that he was playing,” Waratahs’ hooker Tolu Latu said.

“That really lifts us, seeing him rushing off the line and making big hits.”

Latu has relished the opportunity to start a number of games this season while Waratahs and Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been sidelined.

A permanent bench backup to Polota-Nau in the Waratahs 2014 title-winning campaign, 22-year-old Latu has exceeded his expectations this season.

“At the start of the season, I just wanted a couple more extra minutes, but I found myself starting,” Latu said.

“I cherish every game that I get to start. It’s a massive achievement for myself, but I’ve just got to keep delivering and doing my job for the team.”

Complacency won’t be a issue for Latu, with Polota-Nau fit again and poised to push for a starting spot after working his way back to fitness off the bench.

“It’s always good having that friendly competition in the team,” Latu said.

“It’s not only pushing myself but pushing `Taf’ (Polota-Nau) to perform each week, it’s always good for the team.

“He’s been very helpful, even though we’ve got that competition.

“We both want what’s best for the team and we both want to see the team succeed, so whatever we can do to help each other, we’ve been doing it.”

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