Moore primed for Waratahs test
May 13, 2013
Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore is wary of the Waratahs' "hunger" © Getty Images
Brumbies stalwart Stephen Moore admits Saturday night's Super Rugby blockbuster against the New South Wales Waratahs at ANZ Stadium is as big an Australian derby as he can remember.
With the Brumbies pilfering the Sydney club ranks in their early days to build a competitive side - and also providing a home for NSW rejects - the fixture has always carried an edge.
But with the Brumbies' position atop the Australian conference on the line, Wallabies spots also up for grabs and the Waratahs fighting to make the finals, the stakes are higher than ever.
The Brumbies also haven't forgotten how they enjoyed the same lofty status this time last season only to concede conference honours to the Queensland Reds and ultimately miss the play-offs.
"It's been widely said that it's a very busy and a very important time for Australian rugby," Moore said on Monday. "And given that we're in a position to make the finals, that adds to that extra dimension. But that's where we want to be at this stage of the season. We don't want to be out of the finals race at this stage of the season.
"We've done too much work and we've done too much together as a group to let it slip now and it's important that we keep moving forward and grow as a team. This Saturday will be a big test of that. The Waratahs are a very-experienced team and they're showing now that they know how to win and they'll be hungry to win."
Despite trailing the conference leaders by 11 competition points, the Waratahs are coming off a record-breaking 72-10 win over the Southern Kings in South Africa and a spirited 21-15 triumph over the Stormers.
Over the same period, the Brumbies lost to the Crusaders in Canberra before having a bye. Skipper Ben Mowen expects the Waratahs to be a different proposition to the side that capitulated 30-6 against the Brumbies in Canberra in round four.
"I think at that stage, they were still trying to get their head how they wanted to play," Mowen said. "They also had the bye in week one so they didn't get much rhythm coming into the next couple of rounds. In the last couple of weeks, they've obviously found the way they want to attack, they're comfortable in their structures and their performances are replicating that. Look, they're a very talented side, a very dangerous side and they're in good form."
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside