Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan is expecting a ‘WWF type battle’ when his side takes on the under-siege Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.
The New South Wales outfit promised much this year under new head coach Michael Cheika but so far they have failed to deliver, winning just one of their four opening games to sit at the bottom of the Australian conference ladder.
After a one point loss to the Cheetahs last week, the Waratahs will be desperate to bounce back in front of their home crowd at Allianz Stadium to keep their season alive, but the match also shapes as a must-win for the Blues.
The season is still young but with consecutive games against the Chiefs, Highlanders and Hurricanes on the horizon, the Blues need to nail Sunday’s match against the Waratahs to keep their place among the front runners in the competition.
“It doesn’t help that the Waratahs are under the pump as well. I saw Michael Cheika on the news and I don’t think he’s too happy with the way his team’s going so it makes for a bigger game,” Kirwan said.
“We really need to get over there and get the points and get home because we’ve got our conference games coming up and every one’s a big one. They’re under the pump, they haven’t been going so well so it’s a big game for them. It makes for a pretty big afternoon for both sides.”
The Blues came unstuck against a mighty Bulls pack at Eden Park two weeks ago as the South Africans bashed up the hosts, and Kirwan said his side would be in for another physical encounter against the Waratahs on Sunday.
“They want to play a physical game. They’re probably the most physical of the Australian sides so we need to be ready for that,” he said.
“They lost last weekend but they did some really good stuff with the ball in hand and good, hard running at the line so we need to be up for it. It’s going to be a really physical battle and we need to win that battle.”
While Kirwan said the six changes he made for the Bulls match weren’t the reason for his side’s downfall, he hinted that he would field a similar team that played the first two games for Sunday’s match against the Waratahs.
“We made some changes and a lot of those changes actually played well. I don’t think issues around the changes cost us the game, I think it was about the performance and actually being ready to play that game. We’ve learned from that but It’ll be looking like at a pretty similar side from the one that started the first couple.”
The Blues side to face the Waratahs will be named on Friday afternoon.