Waratahs have plenty to fight for, says Beale

The Waratahs are clinging to hope they can give some of their biggest names the farewell they deserve despite falling to their eighth loss of the season against the Jaguares at the weekend.

NSW remain a mathematical chance to snatch a wildcard spot in the Super Rugby finals but now face back-to-back games against the Rebels and Brumbies, the two teams ranked above them in the conference standings, before a final away game against the Highlanders.

A dejected dressing room at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday was forced to confront the fact plans to send off club veterans Sekope Kepu and Nick Phipps with a red-hot tilt at a title were on life support.

"Extremely disappointing. That one really hurt, we knew it was a crucial game for us," Kurtley Beale said.


"I thought that there were patches there where we did some really good things but we hurt ourselves with some poor errors. Not having that discipline to stick to the shape, and they put a lot of pressure on us."


Phipps and Kepu are not the only big names leaving Daceyville at season's end. Winger Curtis Rona is joining Premiership club London Irish, while Beale, NSW five-eighth Bernard Foley, Test second rower Rob Simmons and centre Karmichael Hunt are also off contract at the end of the year.

Beale brushed off questions about his future, preferring to focus on the upcoming Test season.

"I haven’t really thought about it too much, I'm leaving it up to my management, there’s a few things happening around the traps," Beale said.

"This is a massive year for me, I’m just trying to make sure I get my body right now and focus on week in, week out. I’m making sure I can contribute the best way I can."

The veteran Waratah signed with the club as a teenager and turned 30 this year, with a two-season stint in Melbourne and a year in England the only disruptions to 10 seasons in the NSW blue.

Beale urged his teammates to remain "hopeful" the cards would fall in their favour over the final three rounds of the season.

"It’s important for us to not be too down," he said.

"We can hurt over this but be very hopeful about the next few weeks. They’re all grand final matches and you have to be hopeful at this stage of the season."

The Waratahs face a tight turnaround to prepare for Friday's clash with the Rebels at AAMI Park. The second-placed Australian team look set to field a line up minus experienced No.9 Will Genia after he was knocked out in the side's thumping win over the Sunwolves.

But NSW will also be depleted, with Hunt expected to be out for six weeks with a medial ligament knee injury, Test hooker Tolu Latu stood down awaiting a court appearance and Israel Folau's recent exit.

Manly winger Lalakai Foketi was solid as Hunt's replacement and will be favoured to start at No.12 against the Rebels, but it is the NSW game managers who will need to step up if they are to topple the Rebels.

"We're working really hard," Beale said. "No team goes out there to lose. There's a couple of games this year when we just lost by a point or so and it could have been a different season for us.

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"In saying that our season’s not at the end. We play another three games and we’ve got to be hopeful.

"That’s an important thing for us as a group now. Stay tight and make sure we keep working hard for each other. We’re hoping a game or two can turn it around and be the difference. That’s what a tough grinding season is, making sure we’re all in it together in the dying stages."