Discipline is key for the Gallagher Chiefs

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They meet the Waratahs having conceded only one yellow card in 2022.

 

Coach Clayton McMillan said there was a reason for that.

 

"We've worked hard on that element of our game. I think I said a couple of weeks ago that we're not a good enough team at the moment to be able to survive with 14 or 13 men out on the park.

 

"So, you need to be mindful of your discipline, particularly around your tackle height, and your cleans in those areas that some players are getting caught out with for yellow and red cards," he said.

 

The incidents and their consequences were not a surprise.

 

"It's a dynamic game, and you're going to get those moments where you've got to be accurate or else you pay a heavy price."

 

Flanker Sam Cane said, "When you slow things down, it looks easy. But because there's such a small margin for error, and things happen so quickly, you have got to lay on the side of caution and control your body height the best you can, choose which collisions you are going to try and dominate, and have a crack at, and try to be smart at the other ones.

"It's sometimes easier said than done and players just need to keep adjusting."

 

Definitive diagnoses are still to be made on halfback Brad Weber and wing Shaun Stevenson, but McMillan said they were likely to be out for two or three weeks.

 

The side will continue to look for growth in its game. It had achieved that in the first half of the New Zealand leg, and it was a case now of growing towards achieving a quarterfinal place.

 

After the Waratahs' poor season last year, they had developed a good set-piece and were challenging hard in and around the transition zone, Cane said.

 

"They are probably one of the best defensive teams in the competition. They defend slightly different to the Kiwi teams so that presents a challenge to us from an attacking point of view," he said.

 

The tour was exciting for the side. It was something different and was one of the features of rugby.

 

McMillan said it was a tough grind playing New Zealand sides that knew each other well, individuals knew each other's games well, and that made it tougher.

 

That didn't mean the Australian teams wouldn't be tough. They play a different style, and all the differences in playing teams, venues and referees, added to the excitement.

 

Long-time loose forward rival Michael Hooper hadn't missed a beat after returning from a stint in Japan.

 

Cane said, "He's been an outstanding contributor to Australian rugby for a very long time. We talk about the Waratahs having improved, he's probably got a wee bit to do with that."

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