Offering no excuses, club captain Dave Dennis says it’s time the NSW Waratahs forward pack delivered.
The Waratahs head to Perth needing to avoid a fourth straight loss to the Western Force on Saturday night to keep their Super Rugby finals hopes flickering.
With coach Daryl Gibson backing his side’s attacking firepower to revive the Waratahs’ fortunes, the onus is very much on the “piggies” to start providing sufficient front-foot possession for the likes of Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau to weave their magic.
The Tahs are undoubtedly suffering without the punch that Jacques Potgieter, Sekope Kepu and the like offered during their title-winning season of 2014 and also during last year’s charge to the semi-finals.
Dennis, though, maintains the Waratahs retain their edge but admits it’s been hard to find in 2016.
“There’s no secrets that our game’s based around that go-forward and at times we haven’t been giving that to our backs. It’s pretty simple,” Dennis said on Tuesday.
“It’s not through a lack of effort. It’s just through execution and connection on the field.
“Everyone’s trying to do their best to give us that go-forward and play that attacking style of rugby as a real physical forward pack, but various things have affected us.
“We were slow with our set piece starting the season. We’re starting to get a little bit of consistency there, although our lineout and our scrum is still not where it needs to be.”
Dennis is urging the pack, which is likely to be bolstered by the return of powerhouse hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, to step up regardless who takes the field.
“You could come up with a million different excuses. The reality is teams change and we’ve got a clear idea around how we want to play,” he said.
“We’ve just got to go out there and do it instead of just standing there and talking about it.
“So we’re very conscious of the fact that we need to be better as a forward pack.”
The Tahs pack is almost certain to be without the franchise’s most-capped player ever, with prop Benn Robinson still troubled after copping a finger in the eye in last Saturday’s loss to the Brumbies.
“(He’s) not very good,” Dennis said.
“It’s actually a serious injury.
“He saw an eye specialist on Sunday and he’s got poor vision out of there and he’s got to see him again on Friday.
“So the chances of him playing are pretty slim.”