Waratahs face daunting task against Bulls
April 23, 2013
Dave Dennis will be looking to break the Waratahs' winning drought against the Bulls in South Africa © Getty Images
New South Wales Waratahs need to break some lengthy and imposing losing streaks this weekend if they are to stay in the chase for the Super Rugby finals.
The match against the South African conference-leading Bulls in Pretoria early on Sunday (AEST) looms as a mighty challenge for coach Michael Cheika's side.
None of his squad knows what it's like to beat the Bulls in South Africa, as that hasn't happened since 2002.
"No one (at the Waratahs) has won at Loftus before, it's a great challenge for us," Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said.
That game represented one of the Waratahs best overseas efforts, a 51-19, eight-tries-to-one rout.
That side contained several legendary Waratahs including Matt Burke, Phil Waugh, David Lyons and Chris Whitaker, plus league convert Mat Rogers. Five subsequent away clashes against the Bulls have all ended in defeat.
Only a handful of the present squad started the last time NSW won a Super match anywhere in South Africa, against the Lions in May, 2009.
Ironically, that was the last of three wins in as many weeks in South Africa. Since then, famine has followed feast with seven straight losses for NSW in that country.
The Bulls have also reeled off seven straight victories over NSW across both Australia and South Africa.
A semi-final win in Sydney in 2005 was the last time the Waratahs tasted victory against the Bulls.
NSW enter the coming round in 10th place, but just two points off sixth spot.
The Bulls have suffered a blow, with lock Paul Willemse ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury in their last game.
The match in Pretoria is set to be code-hopper Israel Folau's first in South Africa.
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?