Prop Tom Robertson has highlighted the threat of Malcolm Marx ahead of the Super Rugby semi-final between the Waratahs and Lions on Saturday.
The Lions powered to their first win in Sydney when they hammered the Waratahs 29-0 in round 10. In that game, Marx was a key figure for the visiting team: he made 62m (only Madosh Tambwe and Kurtley Beale made more) and nine carries, beat five defenders and made three clean breaks.
Two weeks after that performance, Marx suffered an injury that ruled him out for six weeks. But the 24-year-old hooker has since returned to fitness and has seamlessly slotted back into the Lions fold with one eye-catching display after the other.
Speaking before the blockbuster semi-final, Robertson insisted that neutralising Marx is key to the Waratahs’ chances of winning.
‘He is obviously pretty good. He’s in the front row but around the park, he plays like a back rower,’ Robertson explained.
‘His running and defensive game is really good as well as his set piece, but we have to be wary of him at the breakdown. He is a big part of the Lions’ game and we will be looking to try and nullify him.’
The Waratahs (77) – together with the Crusaders (82), Lions (81) and Hurricanes (70) – have scored the most tries this season. But the Sydney-based side pales in comparison to the other semi-finalists when it comes to defence. They have conceded 59 tries and have an 82.7% tackle success rate (rank 11).
But Robertson is adamant the Waratahs can curb the Lions’ potent attack, especially since they kept the Highlanders scoreless in the second half of the quarter-final last week.
‘We all know in a semi-final, defence is going to win you the game. Our attack can take care of itself, but defence is going to win it for us. The Lions are a great attacking team, so our defence is going to have to be spot on if we’re going to win this game.’
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