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Waratahs no longer aiming for play-offs

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika wants to sort his team's problems out this year

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Article Published: Sunday 7 April 2013

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has admitted that his team reaching the Super Rugby play offs in 2013 is no longer realistic.

The Waratahs dropped to 10th place in the Super Rugby standings after their loss in Wellington to the Hurricanes which puts them five points below the last play off place.

The Waratahs and the Australian teams started a week before the rest of the field so four out of the top six teams have a game in hand over the Sydney side.

Cheika says that he does not look at the Super Rugby table and is not about to start looking at it but admits that his focus is more about changing the Waratahs habits.

"This is about us this year and getting that going, I see the right things happen but I'll be honest with you, I don't know that the table is that relevant this season," he told the Canberra Times.

"Obviously we want to make it, don't get me wrong, we saw a big opportunity tonight and we could have claimed a couple of (competition) points. But at the end of the day we've still got plenty of games to go."

The Waratahs enter a tough stage of the tournament in the coming weeks as they have already had a bye and face the Chiefs this week before flying out to South Africa to face the Kings and Bulls.

After they return from South Africa they host the Stormers and Brumbies in Sydney before traveling to Melbourne to play the Rebels and the Crusaders in Christchurch.

"That's the way it is, everyone's got a bit of that happening, no one said we were going to win 15 games this year or anything like that," Cheika said.

"We're getting our stuff right, our attitude is getting better all the time, how we're responding to training, it's all going along to plan.

"Obviously we'd like to have a few more competition points but c'est la vie, the thing is about doing our best every week and I don't think anyone can say we (didn't do our best) here, we gave it everything out there."

"We're just trying to find our identity around how we're going to play the game. Once we're comfortable with that we'll start learning how to apply pressure, crank it up a little bit and see how we go."

Cheika revealed that halfback Matt Lucas will be closely monitored this week after his back seized up following his replacement of Brendan McKibbin in the second half and although he could barely pass the ball he played on. .

The Waratahs injury concerns are not too bad as they are only missing Berrick Barnes and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is expected to be fit to face the Chiefs.

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