Rebels coach says Waratahs have the goods
March 22, 2014
The New South Wales Waratahs put in a powerful second-half display to earn a bonus-point win (video available in Australia only)
After watching Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau put his side to the sword, Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan is convinced the Waratahs have what it takes to finally break their Super Rugby title drought.
With Beale laying on three tries against his old club - and serving up a double on a platter for Folau - the Waratahs buried the Rebels 32-8 on Friday night with their third bonus-point win from four starts in 2014.
All business, Beale said there was no time to celebrate regaining the Weary Dunlop Shield, with the Waratahs setting off for South Africa early on Saturday morning intent on making a statement next weekend against the table-topping Sharks.
"They're a great team. They're probably one of my top teams in the comp," said the midfield maestro. "But if we can maintain what we produced in the second half [against the Rebels] and improve on that physical dominance, because that's one of the key factors playing against the Sharks, we can play really well in Durban. We've just got to recover. That will be my main focus, just getting the body right."
McGahan has no doubt the Waratahs have the strike power to compete with the Sharks and the competition's other heavyweights. The way the Waratahs seized control around the hour mark was "the sign of a really good team".
"It's only still really early but they certainly have the ingredients," McGahan said. "They have really good depth. Just going through their program, 19 international players, I think, on their books. So once you've got that depth and you get a few key injuries, that's really a key in this competition."
Most importantly, McGahan sees in Beale, five-eighth Bernard Foley and fullback Folau the attacking arsenal to help the Waratahs claim their first Super championship after 18 years of trying.
"They're a bit different to other sides. They've got a little bit of grinding element in the forwards but they've got that x-factor," said McGahan. "As you saw against us, there's nothing really on but they can turn that into a try."
A fullback or five-eighth for the Wallabies, Beale said he was starting to feel at home playing with a roving commission at inside centre for the Tahs.
"It all comes down to I know other people's roles and they're knowing my roles and it's just making it easier to fit in," he said. "Collectively, it's just working for us."
Beale's head-to-head showdown with Springboks star Frans Steyn looms as potentially decisive at Kings Park.
"He's a big boy," Beale said. "Obviously a talented player. Their backline is a pretty skilful backline with a lot of speed out wide."