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Waratahs out to stop trans-Tasman rot

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/05/2017 Darren Walton

Israel Folau is urging teammates to ignore the hype as the NSW Waratahs fight to save Australia from a potentially humiliating whitewash at the hands of New Zealand Super Rugby teams in 2017.

Australia's five provincial sides are a collective - and well documented - none from 15 against Kiwi opposition so far this season, with the Waratahs' hosting of the Blues on Saturday night shaping as hugely important.

The Waratahs-Blues clash at Allianz Stadium is among 10 trans-Tasman showdowns remaining before the finals, but one of only four fixtures in which an Australian side will enjoy home-ground advantage.

The Force are still to host the Highlanders and defending champion Hurricanes in Perth, while the Rebels will be home to the undefeated Crusaders in round 14, but the prospect of an Australian triumph in any of these matches appears remote.

No Australian outfit has won in New Zealand since the Waratahs toppled the Hurricanes in Wellington two years ago, further raising the possibility of a 25-0 trans-Tasman drubbing in 2017 -unless less the Waratahs can conjure a victory over the Blues.

The Aucklanders are running last in the New Zealand conference despite downing Australian leaders the Brumbies 18-12 on Saturday night in Canberra.

Folau says the Tahs can't afford to be distracted by the "background noise" if they are to finally end the trans-Tasman hoodoo and strike a much-needed pre-finals blow for Australian rugby.

"Most guys don't worry too much about that. It's all noise in the background that us as a team can't control really so there's no point of really worrying about," the Wallabies star said.

"We just go about our own business and work hard and go out there and just leave everything out there.

"It's the same as every other week really. It's all the hype that's around us and if guys read into that, you can really get caught up in stuff and it can affect your preparation."

New Zealand sides also dominated Australian sides to the tune of 22-3 in trans-Tasman match-ups last year.

Rejecting former Wallaby Rod Kafer's claim that Australian players were suffering from an inferiority complex, Folau said it would be "awesome" if the Waratahs could snap the streak on Saturday night.

"We're not thinking how much better the New Zealand teams are compared to the Aussie teams," he said.

"The focus is always on us as a team and we're just looking to improve and all those other things will fall into place."

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