Will Skelton says bonus points are not a priority for the NSW Waratahs but a natural by-product of their best rugby.
The Waratahs remain in contention to make the Super Rugby finals but will likely need to book two more bonus-point victories in a row – against the Hurricanes at home on Saturday night, then the Blues in Auckland the week after – to leapfrog the Australian conference-leading Brumbies and claim an automatic playoff berth.
But that doesn’t mean they have become a sudden focus for the team, according to Skelton – bonus points just tend to happen for the Tahs when things are going well, he said.
“We’re just trying to play Waratah footy. That’s us,” Skelton said.
“We’ve got to win games before you talk about bonus points.
“We know if we play our attacking footy, they’ll come.
“It’s not a priority for us.”
Skelton’s seemingly lax attitude towards bonus points is fair enough – the Tahs have already collected seven of them this season, the equal second-most by any team in the competition.
And after putting nine tries past the Sunwolves in a slick 57-12 demolition of the expansion side at the weekend, Skelton believes they’ve recaptured the momentum they lost over the June international break, having impressively beaten the Chiefs the week before the mid-year Test window.
“It’s always tough after a four week break,” he admitted.
“You do lose a bit of momentum after a big win against the Chiefs, but I feel personally we did lift there against the Sunwolves and we’ve got that back, so we can try and put our best foot forward against the Canes.”
The Hurricanes are also in must-win territory, sitting third in a quality New Zealand conference with the Chiefs and Crusaders ahead of them and the reigning champion Highlanders breathing down their neck, one point behind in fourth.
“I know they’ll bring a lot because they’ve got a lot to play for as well,” Skelton said.
“It’s not a place we like being in, but we’re trying to control our own destiny here.
“That’s by winning and trying to win comfortably.”