Israel Folau was one of the Waratahs' best against the Sunwolves in Tokyo. Photo: AP
Israel Folau was one of the Waratahs' best against the Sunwolves in Tokyo. Photo: AP

Tahs get week off to fix Super flaws

A SUPER Rugby bye has come at the perfect time for the misfiring NSW Waratahs and it will give Daryl Gibson and Michael Hooper time to dissect a hatful of shortcomings in Tokyo.

The 31-30 win over the Sunwolves on Saturday was the 50th game in charge for coach Gibson and the 50th as skipper for Hooper but both were struggling for positives after a boilover was narrowly avoided.

The Japanese outfit pounced on turnovers dished up by the Waratahs who have been the least impressive of Australia's four teams through the first two rounds.

The Reds and Brumbies lie in wait when Gibson's men emerge from their week off and both appear equipped to challenge for Australian conference honours.

Gibson expects the time away to be invaluable after two error-strewn performances, having looked disjointed in their opening 20-19 loss to the Hurricanes.

"There are aspects of out game we are disappointed with, in terms of the amount of turnovers we gave away to the Sunwolves and they certainly thrived on that part of the game," Gibson said.

He will also be concerned by a substandard tackle rate and some poor scrummaging against opponents they had steamrolled in their three previous meetings.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson talks to captain Michael Hooper.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson talks to captain Michael Hooper.

Hooper chided his team for a "Harlem Globetrotters" approach with ball in hand as they failed to build pressure through phases.

He said the Sunwolves scrum presented "a different picture that we didn't expect".

"I thought they put us under a lot of pressure from our turnovers. So they were able to move the ball to space, get in behind us.

"It was very physical. The Sunwolves forwards were very effective around the breakdown and they were hard to bring down to the ground."

The jury is out on the Kurtley Beale-Karmichael Hunt midfield mix, leaving Gibson to mull where Adam Ashley-Cooper might fit in when back to full fitness.

Kurtley Beale looked good early.  Picture: AAP
Kurtley Beale looked good early. Picture: AAP

Beale looked sharp early at inside centre, sharing playmaking duties with Bernard Foley, but faded later.

In contrast, Hunt improved at outside centre as the game wore on. He applied crucial pressure on what would have been a match-winning drop-goal attempt from Hayden Parker in the dying minutes.

Five-eighth Parker was perfectly poised for the three-pointer but scuffed his kick under heat from Hunt.

Israel Folau shone brightest again for the Waratahs, crossing twice in the first half to take his Super Rugby career tally to 58 tries, surpassing Joe Roff as the most prolific Australian player.

News Corp Australia

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