Cheika backs Waratahs to step up for Brumbies

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has backed his players to rediscover their Super Rugby championship title winning mojo when they face the Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday.

The Waratahs have played four matches so far this year and they have won two and lost two and have only played one match at home which they lost.

The Waratahs started well last week against the Highlanders but then faded and a loss to the Brumbies would slip two wins behind the table-topping Brumbies.

The current Super Rugby champion Waratahs would then be playing catch up in their race against the Brumbies for the guaranteed final place that comes with finishing top of the Australian conference.

Cheika says that the Brumbies deserve their place at the top of the Super Rugby standings and that if the Waratahs are to beat them they will need to be more clinical in both attack and defence.

“Just (find) that little bit of extra edge to finish off the move or shut down the opposition,” he said.

“It’s nothing to do with our work rate. If anything, our work rate has improved from last year.

“But one thing’s for sure; they (the Brumbies) have earned that 10-point gap at this stage.

“So that’s 100 per cent clear. They’ve been by far and away the best team in Australia.

“But I believe in my lads 100 per cent.”

Cheika is known for being able to motivate his players and has promised to have the Waratahs “up” for this weekend’s Super Rugby derby clash.

“We’ve probably just been lacking a little bit of edge,” Cheika told AAP.

“I think that’s fair to say, and I believe that on Sunday we’re going to have a clear idea on how we’re going to get that edge for the game.”

Cheika has pointed out that a victory this weekend over the Brumbies and then another next weekend while the Canberra side have a bye would go a long way to closing the gap on their ACT rivals.

The Brumbies have the best attack and defence in the tournament statistics but Cheika is confident his title winning Waratahs will be able to halt the Brumbies and ask their defence serious questions.

“You get nothing for free in this tournament, against anybody,” he said.

“You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to have edge and you’ve got to be up front and make a play so that oppositions are reacting to what you’re doing.

“And we do that and I’m backing my guys all day.”

Wallabies and Waratahs midfield back Kurtley Beale has predicted that the match on Sunday will be a physical encounter.

“We’re just going out there and bashing each other. That’s what they usually are these Australian derbies. They’re always very physical,” Beale said.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us, coming from a pretty disappointing loss last week.

“But the guys are pretty keen to turn things around.”

The Waratahs expect to be without Adam Ashley-Cooper again but Cheika says that the Wallabies back is close to returning from the knee injury that has caused his to miss the last three weeks.

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