JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - If the New South Wales Waratahs are going to win away in South Africa in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Lions, then experienced Wallaby back Kurtley Beale will have to continue his inspirational form.
“KB’s definitely that man for us, he’s our spark,” said team mate Nick Phipps as the Waratahs prepared for the match at Ellis Park.
Both are among the Waratahs players who remain from their 2014 success, the last time an Australian team won the annual southern hemisphere competition.
“He has grown this year, he wants to be in that leadership role, driving the way we play as much as possible,” added the scrumhalf of the 29-year-old Beale, who returned to Waratahs this year after a brief stint at Wasps in England.
“When we want to know how the squad’s going we ask him because he gets that feel, he feels the squad and how things are going and he’s obviously playing some great footy.”
The Waratahs might have had to dash across from Sydney to Johannesburg after coming from behind at the weekend to beat the Otago Highlanders in the quarter-final but are not expecting any fatigue from the long-distance journey.
“Every single person in the squad’s travelled before and we’re all complete professionals,” Phipps told reporters. “It’s really no big issue.
“At the ‘Tahs over the last five years, we’ve changed the way that we like to play and we like to play quick, unrelenting footy.
“I don’t think we’ll come to the semi-final and change the way we play now.
“As someone who’s been trying to drive the culture of the squad like that with a few other blokes, seeing that coming to fruition at the most important part of the season makes me really proud.”
“Now, it’s just important that we just keep bringing those little tough moments, those competing for every little contest across the field all day on Saturday,” added Phipps.
The winner of Saturday’s semi-final meets either Canterbury Crusaders or Wellington Hurricanes in the final on Aug. 4.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge