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Sloppy Waratahs promise no more gifts

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/03/2017 Darren Walton

Sweating on Bernard Foley's availability, the NSW Waratahs are promising the Brumbies no more charities on Saturday night as they bid to reignite their spluttering Super Rugby season.

Foley remained a 50-50 prospect after completing Friday's captain's run but the Wallabies' five-eighth still needed to meet final concussion protocols before the NSW medicos gave him the green light to play his first game of 2017.

"We just give him as much time as we need. There's no pressure from our side. We're comfortable whether or not he does play," said Tahs assistant coach Chris Malone.

"We just need to ensure his wellbeing is being looked after."

Bryce Hegarty will continue to deputise should Foley again be forced to sit it out after copping a head knock in a pre-season trial against the Highlanders.

Back home from their demoralising two-loss tour of South Africa, the Waratahs are vowing to stop the rot - with or without their chief playmaker - after a series of ill-disciplined and sloppy displays.

The Tahs are conceding almost a dozen penalties a game and also rank third-worst for yellow cards after having four players sent to the sin bin in the opening three rounds.

They also gifted the Sharks three tries from turnovers last outing in Durban and admitted enough's enough.

"We've probably been our own worst enemy when we were over in South Africa and, this week, we've focused on a lot on what we need to do instead of the Waratahs beating the Waratahs," said halfback Nick Phipps.

"We just want to make sure we're playing some good footy, getting our style in flow and in shape so we can score some points and put a bit more pressure on the opposition team instead of us holding all the pressure."

Maloney said loss of concentration had cost NSW dearly in their back-to-back defeats, but was confident the Waratahs could revive their fortunes in the high-stakes derby with Australia's conference leaders at Allianz Stadium.

"The reality was that we probably contributed to us conceding more points than what the opposition put on us last week," Malone said.

"So we need to ensure we get the parts of our game right that have been letting us down.

"That's been our concentration."

While Foley remains in doubt, the Waratahs' pack has been bolstered by the return of giant forwards Jed Holloway and Will Skelton in what shapes as a ferocious up-front battle.

"As we saw last week in the Brumbies-Force game, they've got a formidable pack and they're well drilled," Malone said.

"So for us to have a guy like Will back in the engine room is really good.

"Clearly, it doesn't matter whether it's wet or dry - your forwards have still got to get you going forward and we're confident in the fact that we've got a good pack and we'll be able to get on the front foot tomorrow."

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