Western Farce coach and former All Blacks main man John Mitchell believes the Waratahs are the best Australian side in the Vodacom Super 14 and up there with the likes of the champion Crusaders.
Mitchell, whose Farce have played and lost to the Brumbies, Reds and Tahs, told the Sydney Morning Herald’s Greg Growden: “They are the best-looking Australian side at the moment. They play a similar style to the Crusaders, and the execution of their little things is becoming better. They’ve grabbed a lot more composure as a group, while the younger guys, such as Sam Norton-Knight and Alex Kanaar, have brought in some energy. They have also a real balance in their scrum, while Rocky Elsom’s demise has brought Wycliff Palu back, and Palu has been able to give them a lot of momentum at the gain-line.”
Mitchell was impressed by Palu and is tipping him for bigger things. Mat Rogers’s selection at flyhalf is also significant, according to Mitchell.
“Palu has seemed to have stripped down a bit and is operating for longer periods of time,” Mitchell said. “He’s working hard off the ball and, if he continues the way he is, he could seek higher honours. Mat is not only a good ad-lib footballer, he has also found a spot where he can really influence the game,” Mitchell said. “Depth is what this competition is all about. We’ve never had depth from day one, whereas if you look at the Waratahs over the past three years they have been able to build that depth, and it’s a pay-off, because whoever they put on is of the same quality.”
Mitchell’s mob hosts the Bulls in Perth this weekend — their first official battle with SA opposition. The Farce lost a pre-season warm-up to the Cheetahs 29-19 in Perth.