The NSW Waratahs booked a home semi-final with their 46-0 drubbing of the Reds last weekend at Eric Tweedale stadium and the rivalry is set to resume this Thursday night at the same venue with a place in the Buildcorp Super W Final at stake.
Campbell Aitken’s side bounced back after their disappointing loss to the Drua on the Gold Coast, bursting out of the blocks and putting the game to bed by the end of the first half.
The Waratahs played near-faultless rugby in the opening 40 minutes of the match outscoring the reds five tries to nil with a composed and efficient performance led by their Super Rugby Player of the Year Arabella McKenzie back in the ten jersey.
Halves partner Iliseva Batibasaga described how motivated the team was to put in a strong showing after suffering their first-ever loss in the competition in Round Six against the Fijiana Drua.
“We were really disappointed with our loss against the Drua and especially how we performed. So, we had a statement to make and to show that we can play better footy,” Batibasaga said.
“It was important that we put on a show last week, especially being a home game and we just wanted to show everyone there's more in the tank for us.”
Looking ahead to the rematch against the Reds in the Waratahs scrumhalf noted the challenges of backing up and playing the rematch just five days later.
“On the short turnaround we've got a few injuries that we've got to look at, so we will have a couple of new changes in the team coming into Thursday,” Batibasaga said.
“But we trust the girls coming in and we do have that depth in the Tah’s squad, especially with the inclusion of the U18’s competition so we do have a bigger pool to choose from.”
Despite the result on Saturday the Waratahs will not be taking the game lightly, especially playing against their oldest foe with a Grand Final place on offer.
“Reds v Waratahs, Red v Blue, it’s a massive grudge match and always has been. It always brings the best out of us, and we play with a lot of heart when we take on the Reds.
“They’re going to be better this week; they will be better prepared. They’re coming down early and will have stayed the night before, so they'll be ready to take the field a bit more controlled.”
“But we’re focused on ourselves, and we can be better, and we know we can perform.
“We belong in that final.”
Match Details Buildcorp Super W Semi-Final NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds Eric Tweedale Stadium, Granville Kickoff 6:05pm