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Rugby: Wilting Waratahs pledge to rebound after critical review

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The New South Wales Waratahs have had “honest conversations” in the wake of their humiliating home loss to the Tokyo-based Sunwolves and are ready to hit back against the resurgent Auckland Blues on Saturday, lock Tom Staniforth has said.

Backed to win Super Rugby’s Australian Conference, the Waratahs’ (3-3) stunning 31-29 defeat to the Japanese strugglers saw them relinquish top spot to the Melbourne Rebels and surrender all the momentum from their rousing win over champions Canterbury Crusaders the previous week.

The Sydney side have since come under fire in local media, with coach Daryl Gibson’s decision to rest a slew of Wallabies seen as a failure to respect the Sunwolves.

Staniforth, however, said the fault lay with the players for having an “off-day”, and that they were deservedly put through a confronting review.

“It was pretty critical,” Staniforth told reporters on Wednesday.

“But that’s just the way it’s got to be. If you’re not critical of each other and have honest conversations, then what’s the point of doing a review in the first place?

“We got out what we had to get out and everyone’s looking to move forward this week.”

The 2014 champions face a Blues side that have won their last three matches and suddenly look a genuine threat in the powerful New Zealand conference after years of struggles.

Staniforth said the Waratahs, with flyhalf Bernard Foley and Wallabies team mates Jack Dempsey and Adam Ashley-Cooper expected to be recalled, could get more out of their “world-class backline”.

“We’ve got to give them the opportunity,” he said.

“We’ve just got to build back this week and train well and play well.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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