Playmaker Kurtley Beale is hoping the NSW Waratahs’ steady climb up the ladder will release the shackles as the defending champions push for back-to-back Super Rugby titles.
After an inconsistent start to their campaign, the Waratahs have strung together three victories for the first time in 2015 to be better placed – wins wise – than at the same point last season.
But they have yet to produce the attacking razzle dazzle of 2014, scoring just one try in Friday’s steely 13-10 win over the Brumbies in Canberra and still averaging less than three five-pointers a game.
It was a mid-season bonus-point triumph over the Hurricanes that sparked a club-record nine-match winning streak and ultimately a maiden championship for Super Rugby’s perennial underachievers last year.
In comparisons impossible to ignore, as much as they try, the Tahs haven’t lost since pulling off a four-try comeback win over the ladder-leading Hurricanes in Wellington three weeks ago.
“We don’t want to compare ourselves to last year, but I think definitely we can learn a lot about the way we want to play,” Beale said ahead of his side’s testing trip to Perth to take on the Western Force, somewhat of a bogey side in recent times, on Saturday night.
“It’s just important for us to take it game by game and take a lot of confidence from winning down here in Canberra because it’s a difficult thing to do.
“They’re a great team. They’ve probably been one of the benchmark teams in the last three or four years. So for our boys we can learn a lot from that.
“There’s still a lot to improve on for us as a team.”
Their first win in the national capital, and seventh from 10 outings in 2015, gave the Waratahs the ascendancy over the Brumbies in the battle for Australian conference honours.
Beale is hoping that now the titleholders have their finals fate in their own hands, they’ll have the confidence to play with more freedom in the run to the playoffs.
“You want winning to be infectious,” he said.
“It definitely sets a really good mood within the group and the confidence just oozes throughout the whole group.
“It enables them to play their natural game and play the game we want to play – forgetting about the score and just playing to our identity and sticking to our guns.
“I think if we do that, then the results will hopefully happen later on.”