In an all too familiar scenario, a successful team must contend with losing key players to other teams every time it appears that the former team has slipped a bit. That is certainly the case with the NSW Waratahs after being deposed as the reigning Super Rugby champions.
After losing Sekope Kepu and Adam Ashley-Cooper to Bordeaux, the Tahs will be looking to Paddy Ryan and Angus Ta’avao to fill the void. They will also need players to assume the roles formerly occupied by the retirements of Stephen Hoiles and Mitchell Chapman. They must also deal with the departures of Peter Betham, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Brendan McKibbon.
The Waratahs not only lost players, they lost their formidable scrums coach Mario Ledsema. He has been replaced by Cameron Blades, who has been charged with the task of rebuilding the Tahs scrum. Blades has stated that he intends to do not only that, but also tutor the front liners to carry on with the style of rugby that led to the 2014 championship.
Along with the now-fulltime Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, Blades is focused on pre-season sessions geared towards building on drawing-and-passing skills with special emphasis being placed on the attacking style of footy for which the team is known.