David Horwitz knew he had to score when the opportunity came to win the game against the Rebels, but not just because it meant four points for the team.
With a major defensive overlap outside of him, that included some of the Waratahs’ best finishers, Horwitz slipped through the gap in front of him, ignoring their calls.
“Daryl said after the game that if I didn’t score myself he would’ve cut my head off because we had a five on two on the outside, but that’s kind of what made the gap,” he said.
“Izzy (Israel Folau) was there, they were all screaming for it, so the defence was all looking outside, so a little window opened.
“I don’t throw too many dummies in the game, so it was nice to pick my chance and score otherwise I would’ve been having to answer to Daryl.”
While it took until that 80th-minute try for the Waratahs to lead, Horwitz said they never felt it was a lost cause.
“Their tries were good tries but they weren’t well-worked and a lot of phases,” he said.
“So, we had some good passages in the first half, couldn’t convert and I felt just if we kept at it, we’d get some pay for it and it worked.
“We held the ball for long periods, made good movements down their edge and then unlike the first half, we capitalised and finished off.
“It was just sticking at it, keeping the belief in the system and it paid off.”
Just six days after their 28-12 loss to the Brumbies, Horwitz said there was a completely different feel among the group on Friday night.
“A win seems to fix a lot of things but I think we got a lot of frustration off our hands,” he said.
“It was a long preseason and a lot of really good training weeks where we didn’t get the reward on the weekend.
“To finally see some pay for what you do for six months was massive. You could see a bit of relief and just proud the boys still had the belief and kept with it.”
Though the win will give the Waratahs plenty of confidence, Horwitz will be acutely aware of the threat the Crusaders pose, having started at 12 against the undefeated side last year in a 29-10 loss in Christchurch.
“They’re just the complete package,” he said.
“We just got a little bit ambushed almost, so this weekend, especially at home…we’ve got to be the team to press the issue early on and not let teams get a good lead because we know through the work we’ve done we are a good finishing side.
“The New Zealand teams are definitely setting the pace the last two years so it’s going to be a massive test but there’s nothing more important than the confidence that result gives us and hopefully it launches into a really good training week and then we get the biscuits on Sunday.”
The Waratahs take on the Crusaders next Sunday, kicking off at 4:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.