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Super Rugby round five
Waratahs face 'massive war with themselves'
March 16, 2013
Michael Cheika barks some orders to his Waratahs side, Sydney, Australia, October 24, 2012
Michael Cheika is sure to be putting his players through stiff sessions on the training pitch © Getty Images
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New South Wales Waratahs are carrying "a lot of anxiety" built up over past seasons and face a "massive war with themselves" to get out of their early-season hole, coach Michael Cheika said after the depressing loss to the Cheetahs on Friday night.

The Waratahs produced a spate of basic errors in their 27-26 loss to the Cheetahs in front of a disappointing 12,263 crowd at Allianz Stadium.

They conceded a try in the opening minute but fought back well with tries from Peter Betham and Adam Ashley-Cooper to lead by three points at the break. The Cheetahs had the final say, however, a try from Raymond Rhule condemning the Waratahs to their third loss in four matches this season.

"Obviously we're very disappointed," Cheika fumed at the post-match press conference.

 
"We have to have the courage and the application and make the sacrifices to get out of it, because no-one thinks we can." Michael Cheika has questions for his Waratahs players.
 

"We're making a lot of good play and then the ball was getting stripped. We made the same mistakes over again, they chipped the ball over and we're not in a position to stop that; OK, one time maybe but not two or three. You add up all those little things then you end up losing a game you should have won."

Cheika warned his players to brace for more heavy criticism following their latest loss, and challenged them to face their demons in order to turn things around. "We are obviously going to be heavily criticised and first and most importantly we put ourselves in a difficult position on the table," he said.

The Waratahs suffered another depressing loss, against the Cheetahs (video available only in Australia)
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The Waratahs collected one bonus point for finishing within seven points, and they remain third on the Australian conference ladder on nine points.

"We're a team that's carrying a lot of anxiety as it is from past seasons so we're going to get a lot more of that now," Cheika said.

"And we have to have the resolve to understand that we're going to be in a massive war with ourselves predominantly, and that we have to have the courage and the application and make the sacrifices to get out of it, because no-one thinks we can."

Asked if his players possessed the fortitude to turn things around, Cheika replied tersely: "Well, we're going to find out aren't we?"

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