Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says his side's poor record against the Crusaders will have no bearing on the final in Sydney on Saturday.
The outspoken coach has transformed the Waratahs' fortunes since taking over in 2012, taking them from mid-table mediocrity to genuine Super Rugby contenders. Be that as it may, they are still without a win against the Crusaders since 2004. When asked about whether their wretched record will have any impact on Saturday's outcome, Cheika's response was dripping with sarcasm.
'It was never my forte at school, history. Maybe the Ancient Greeks or something like that. No, I don't think so. Really what's the relevance?' said Cheika, whose abrasive nature has already gotten him into hot water this season.
'It's not even worth addressing last week's result either, because that's over. You've got to stop taking the pats on the back and reading all the good things, even though they're nice, and just focus on the challenge that's coming up on Saturday night.'
Saturday's match will be the Waratahs' third finals appearance, having suffered defeat on both previous occasions to the Crusaders.
'Part of history has tended to lead [people] to that conclusion that we won't deliver on the day,' said Chieka on his team's finals record. 'They're [the Crusaders] the one's who have been in the finals the last 11 years or whatever. We're not going to pay homage but at the same [time] we understand that's the dynamic. We've got to go out there and do our best.'
Despite being the most successful side in the history of Super Rugby, the Crusaders have experienced a barren patch of late. They are without a title since 2008, while their last finals appearance was an 18-13 defeat to the Reds on Australian soil in 2011. Asked whether the Crusaders recent struggles to get across the line might have an impact on the current crop of players, Cheika was equally dismissive.
'No I don't think so, I doubt it very highly. You get a certain sort of confidence when you're continually in the finals and sometimes the run goes against you, but no I don't think so. I think they'd be feeling comfortable with their opponent and that they've got the guns to shoot us down.'
'We've just got to make sure we put up a wall and get stuck in and hopefully reverse that idea. We'll try and play really attacking football and see if we can cause them some trouble.'
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