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Super Rugby round eight
Waratahs focused on Hurricanes' back three
April 5, 2013
The Waratahs' Drew Mitchell takes the ball into contact, Moore Park, Sydney, Australia, April 2, 2013
Drew Mitchell and the Waratahs are content with their preparation for the Hurricanes game © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Super Rugby

New South Wales Waratahs have focused on defending the threat posed by the Hurricanes' strike weapons as they head into a pivotal Super Rugby clash in which they will try to end a 10-match overseas losing streak.

The Waratahs enter the round in eighth spot, one point and one place below the Hurricanes, who have played one game less, after hard-earned home victories over the Blues and Western Force.

The Waratahs have not won three games in succession since May 2011, and to do so they must end a wretched overseas run by securing their first win outside Australia since they defeated the Chiefs in Hamilton in May 2010. And they must defeat an in-form Hurricanes outfit who have themselves won three matches on end after starting with losses to the Blues and Queensland Reds.

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis pinpointed the danger posed by the Canes' back trio Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua and Julian Savea, but said they also had to watch the hosts' young halves pair Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara.

"Their back three is threatening and they work pretty hard, so they will pose a serious threat for us," Dennis said. "They will be looking to get their wingers plenty of ball, and they are a team that can score tries quite easily, so we've had a focus on defence this week.

"This is an important game for us in terms of the the context of the season, and I'm sure it is for the Hurricanes as well. They are probably in a similar position with a few wins and a couple of losses. We'll be giving it everything, knowing that we've got that week off the following week."

Rain is forecast for the game, but Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett doubts that will have much influence on the game plan of Waratahs coach Michael Cheika. "They've certainly played with a bit more width over the last few weeks," Hammett said. "We'll see what the weather allows but I don't think they will change much."

© AAP
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