Whitelock to target 'Tahs' line-out

Date published: August 1 2014

Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock knows plenty about the Waratahs' line-out, even though the two sides meet for the first time on Saturday.

Although the Crusaders haven't faced the Waratahs this season, the Christchurch-based side's lock Sam Whitelock knows plenty about his opponents' line-out.

Whitelock has spent plenty of time looking at videos of the Sydneysiders' line-out, with the hope of finding a weakness in his opponents' set-piece.

“I've seen a couple of things that they do, but they also do a lot of things really well so it's about making sure we come up with a plan to stop what they are doing or influence their game,” he told Fairfax Media.

The All Blacks enforcer is yet to be on the winning side in a Super Rugby final but is aware that winning the forward battle usually paves the way to victory in such matches.

Despite winning their semi-final against the Brumbies last weekend, the Waratahs' key line-out man Stephen Hoiles was beaten in the air, on several occasions, at the back and front of the line-out – something which Whitelock took note of.

“The boys do their homework and obviously I've done mine,” he added.

Whitelock also noticed that the Waratahs' scrum was pushed around by the Brumbies in their semi-final.

“Without going through all the old cliches the forwards need to do well up front to allow the backs to play their game so if we front up really well set piece wise, hopefully the backs can do what they normally do,” he explained.

The Crusaders have timed their run to the final to perfection, and a key to that has been their improvement at their set-pieces.

But Whitelock said head coach Todd Blackadder and his forwards assistant Dave Hewitt feels there is still room for improvement.

“There's always things to improve on, so we're always trying to do that,” he said.

“If you are ever happy you'd probably be a little bit worried.”