Desperate Waratahs to take no prisoners against Reds

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The scrapping of Super Rugby hasn't dimmed the fierce NSW-Queensland rivalry as the Waratahs promise to "take no prisoners" in a desperate bid to remain relevant in 2020.

A fourth loss from five starts in the new-look 10-round Super Rugby AU competition would all but eliminate the Waratahs from finals contention.

Needless to say the Tahs are talking tough in the lead-up to Saturday night's showdown at the SCG.

Waratahs forward Ned Hanigan said NSW's bruising 32-26 loss to Queensland in the competition opener carried a State of Origin-like intensity, and he expects much the same in the return bout.

"The 80 minutes you're playing against them, it's full tilt. There's no prisoners taken," Hanigan said on Wednesday.

"The Queensland-NSW game is something that every player from both teams wants to be a part of. There's always plenty to play for.

"You've got a trophy on the line and it's just that rivalry that you want to be a part of and round one against them is just adding to it.

"It will be on, that's for sure."

With a bye last week, the Waratahs have had a fortnight to stew over their 29-10 drubbing at the hands of the Melbourne Rebels.

It was an insipid display punctuated by handling errors and 26 penalties conceded from the Tahs, whose lineout was unusually dysfunctional.

Hanigan said the Waratahs must improve at the set piece and cut out the ill-discipline to compete with the Reds, who are second on the ladder behind runaway leaders the Brumbies.

The Waratahs are fourth at the halfway point of the competition and must win to stay in the hunt for a top-three finals berth.

The unbeaten Brumbies face the third-placed Rebels on Friday night at Leichhardt Oval.