THE NSW Waratahs are training the house down and aiming high as they strive to bounce back from their worst season in a decade by winning the 2018 Super Rugby title.
“You always want to be the best. I don’t think you can set a goal less than winning the comp.
“It’s what we all want to do so,” fullback/winger Cameron Clark said.
The Tahs endured a dismal 2017 campaign, finishing 16th in the old 18 team competition with just three wins from 15 matches.
But the 2014 champions do have history of swiftly turning around their fortunes, making the final in 2008 after finishing second last the previous season with only three wins.
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The return of midfield maestro Kurtley Beale from his stint in the English Premiership will help, as will the addition of Wallabies second-rower Rob Simmons.
Beale and the former Queensland Reds star were among the Waratahs contingent on the Wallabies’ spring tour of Britain who aren’t due back at NSW training until after Christmas.
As for the rest, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has been flogging them on the training paddock ahead of the side’s first trial match on February 2 against the Highlanders in Queenstown.
“There’s been a lot of fitness (work) because the way we want to play in 2018 we need to be fit, fitter than this year,” said hooker Tolu Latu.
“So a lot of skills (work) under fatigue, working after our sets of running and conditioning blocks.
“So it’s been a tough. A lot of running for the boys.”
Clark, one of the Tahs’ better performers this year, says the new faces in Gibson’s squad have already added an edge.
“It’s only been a couple of days but they’re definitely bringing that new level of excitement,” he said.
“Fresh faces are always good for the squad and everyone’s really embracing them.
“They’re getting stuck in as well as the old boys so it’s great to have some new guys around.
“We’re setting ourselves high standards and hopefully we keep to those throughout the year and we end up at the top at the end.”
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