Michael Hooper of the Waratahs evades a tackle by Curtis Rona of the Force.
Michael Hooper of the Waratahs evades a tackle by Curtis Rona of the Force. DEAN LEWINS

Tahs wary of South Africans with 'nothing to lose'

RUGBY UNION: Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says the soon-to-be-axed Southern Kings will have plenty to prove when the two sides clash at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

Having won just three times in two seasons, the South African franchise is set to be chopped from the Super Rugby competition as it restructures to a 15-team format.

Hooper said, however, the team had plenty to play for and had shown that in narrow losses to the Western Force and Queensland Reds in recent weeks.

"Last week they put three tries on in 10 or 12 minutes," the Wallabies back-rower said.

"Potentially, if they'd gotten (another) try last week, they had the chance to win the game.

"So we're fully aware of the threats that they bring, and they bring them for 80 minutes.

"They're a team that's got nothing to lose.

"They've been told they're out of the competition going forward so they've got everything to play for and want to show everyone they (officials) have made a mistake."

The Waratahs are hoping the Brumbies slip up in Napier against the defending champion Hurricanes.

NSW sits nine points behind the Brumbies in the Australian Conference and needs some bonus points if it is to close the gap on its rivals.

"You go into every game hoping to get five points, don't you? So tomorrow's no different," Hooper said on Thursday.

"We've got to make a run for it to be a real threat in this competition.

"We finished the year second (on the table) in 2015 with five losses and we're on that mark now, so it's really time to start kicking into gear."

The Waratahs had a bye last week and Hooper said he could not wait to get back into the action after watching other teams get a jump on the Tahs last week.

"We're feeling really good, a lot of energy in the camp and we're pumped to play," he said.

"It sucks when you're sitting at home on the weekend when everyone else has a crack at getting better.

"So we're really excited about playing the Kings tomorrow night."

News Corp Australia


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