"The more you focus on them, the more you start worrying about them": Robinson.

"The more you focus on them, the more you start worrying about them": Robinson. Photo: Getty Images

Waratahs loosehead prop Benn Robinson respects the Western Force pack, but he says he and his fellow NSW forwards won't be "worrying about them" as they go into their Super Rugby round one clash at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Robinson knows the Force pack prides itself on its set piece, despite the absence of Force captain and back-rower Matt Hodgson who has been ruled out until at least round eight due to a hamstring injury.

"I know their forward play and set piece is very, very strong," Robinson said. "They are going to [try to] adjust and change the way you scrummage.

"They have a lot of experience with [Nathan] Charles and Pek Cowan in the front row.

"They showed last year how they are a great scrummaging side. We are up for the challenge … we have never shied away from a good battle."

But Robinson says the Waratahs forwards won't focus too much on the potential of a Force pack.

It includes a Wallaby front row of Cowan at loosehead, Charles as hooker and Tetera Faulkner at tighthead, a second row of Sam Wykes who will captain the side and Adam Coleman, and a back row of Angus Cottrell, Chris Alcock and Ben McCalman at No. 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

Asked if anything was learned from playing the Force pack last season that the Waratahs forwards could take into this year, Robinson said: "Not too much to be honest. We have to focus on our set piece and doing what we do best.

"The more you focus on them, the more you start worrying about them."

But Robinson said the Waratahs are "well aware" of how the Force progressed last season after their 41-23 loss to the Waratahs in their first game in Sydney last year.

Not only did the Force turn that result around in Perth in round nine with a 28-16 win over the Waratahs, but they also finished the season strongly in eighth place and missing a place in the finals by only two competition points

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis expects the Force to tap into the momentum they gained last season, their third under coach Michael Foley.

"They seem to have a really clear sense of what they are about," Dennis said. "That's the hardest part, establishing that; and once you do things become a bit easier.

"So I would imagine they would take a lot of confidence from last year and bring that into round one."

Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper anticipates a brutal season opener, and expects the same from every opponent this year.

The Waratahs have remained tight lipped about spruiking themselves as the title holders, but they realise their rivals see them as that and will likely lift to a new level in a bid to beat them.

"I know from my personal experience what it is like to play against previous champions," Ashley-Cooper said. "I have spent the last 10 years in Australian rugby without a premiership. And I have always come up against the last season premiers.

"So I have always known when I have done that I have needed to play my best football to give myself every chance and the team a chance to win.

"Now we have that tag and that label on our back, teams are going to be after us.

"We are going to have to play our best football. They are going to play their best football and for that there can't be any complacency.

"Week in, week out … teams are certainly gunning for us. That will strengthen our attitude, our mindset and out mental toughness.

"That's only a positive."