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Thread: Waratahs v Highlanders, preview

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    Waratahs v Highlanders, preview

    Waratahs v Highlanders, preview

    April 20, 2007 - 5:12am
    Story by: Sportal


    Venue & time

    Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Saturday April 21, 19.35 (AEST).

    Head to head

    Played 11: Waratahs 9, Highlanders 2.

    Last time

    April 28, 2006 (Dunedin). Waratahs 20-3 Highlanders.

    Walking wounded & team changes

    The Waratahs have lost centre Morgan Turinui and No.9 Josh Valentine to knee injuries. Rookie scrumhalf Josh Holmes earns his debut Super 14 start with Academy player Nathan Sievert on the bench. Sam Harris replaces Turinui at inside centre. Prop Matt Dunning makes his first starting appearance for the year replacing Benn Robinson, while lock Dean Mumm returns to the starting side for Ben Hand, who remains in doubt after suffering a back injury in training. Tim Davidson will come onto the bench if Hand is ruled out. Rocky Elsom is handed the captaincy as Adam Freier starts from the bench giving young hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau his second start this season.

    The Highlanders have been boosted by the return of key players scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan and flanker Craig Newby from injury. Cowan takes over from Toby Morland while Newby replaces Alando Soakai. Filipo Levi swaps with Hoani MacDonald in the second-row while the only other change sees Jason Kawau start ahead of Matt Saunders in the centres.

    Form

    The Waratahs won for the first time since round one last week with an opportunistic but important win over the Reds. However, the result was far from convincing and the Waratahs backline lacks substantial punch, which explains why Peter Hewat has scored 105 of their 180 points without getting a try.

    The Highlanders have lost their last two matches, with missed kicks and tackles resulting in the defeat by the Chiefs and lack of penetration in the backs letting the Crusaders off the hook. The Highlanders were actually a great deal better last week than 38-3 scoreline suggests but once the Crusaders got turnover ball points were quick to follow.

    Who's hot

    Very few players from either team qualify as hot; most are struggling to be luke-warm. Rocky Elsom and Adam Freier always try hard for the Waratahs. Young flanker Beau Robinson had a stand-out game last week while Lachlan Turner needs to be given more opportunities.

    Carl Hayman is far and away the best of the Highlanders at present; given the abject weakness in the Waratahs scrum he could resemble a high-speed bulldozer this week. Clarke Dermody and Anton Oliver should also enjoy themselves. Beyond the loose forwards, though, the Highlanders really need to improve and their backs have not been organised of late.

    Teams

    Waratahs


    1. Matt Dunning,
    2. Tatafu Polota-Nau,
    3. Al Baxter,
    4. Dean Mumm,
    5. Will Caldwell
    6. Rocky Elsom (c),
    7. Beau Robinson,
    8. David Lyons,

    9. Josh Holmes,
    10. Sam Norton-Knight,
    11. Lote Tuqiri (vc),
    12. Sam Harris,
    13. Ben Jacobs,
    14. Lachie Turner,
    15. Peter Hewat.

    16. Adam Freier,
    17. Benn Robinson,
    18. Ben Hand/Tim Davidson,
    19. Wycliff Palu,
    20. Nathan Sievert,
    21. Kurtley Beale,
    22. Daniel Halanaghu.

    Highlanders

    1. Clarke Dermody,
    2. Anton Oliver,
    3. Carl Hayman,
    4. Filipo Levi,
    5. Tom Donnelly,
    6. Craig Newby,
    7. Josh Blackie (c),
    8 . Ezra Taylor,

    9. Jimmy Cowan,
    10. Nick Evans,
    11. Viliame Waqaseduadua,
    12. Aaron Bancroft,
    13. Jason Kawau,
    14. Lucky Mulipola,
    15. James Wilson.

    16. Jason MacDonald,
    17. Chris King,
    18. Kane Thompson,
    19. Hale T-Pole,
    20. Toby Morland,
    21. Charlie Hore,
    22. Matt Saunders.

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  2. #2
    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    tahs have made a few changes probly because there gonna need a good forward pack to beat the highlanders. i think there backs will run all over the highlandrs though.

    tahs by 6

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    Yeah agree re selection jazza, I'd imagine that Cliffy will be on fairly early in the second half and Beale will be kept on the bench unless there is an injury.
    I think the Highlanders have them covered in most positions though and I have a hunch of a blowout to the visitors here.

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    Our backline might be better but it'll come down to how much pressure young Holmes can handle at the breakdown, not to mention Nathan Sievert getting his first cap off the bench. It won't matter how good the backline looks if they don't get ball.

    I'm hopeful for another win, the tahs just need to use the ball better, I thought the defense held up fine last week.

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    Some late changes for the boys in blue... Yes, the tahs..


    1. Matt Dunning
    2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
    3. Al Baxter
    4. Dean Mumm
    5. Will Caldwell
    6. Rocky Elsom [c]
    7. Beau Robinson
    8. David Lyons
    9. Josh Holmes *First Super Rugby Starting Appearance
    10. Sam Norton-Knight
    11. Lote Tuqiri [v-c] *Becomes Most Capped Waratah Super Rugby Wing - 55th Cap
    12. Sam Harris
    13. Ben Jacobs
    14. Lachie Turner
    15. Peter Hewat
    16. Adam Freier
    17. Benn Robinson
    18. Tim Davidson
    19. Wycliff Palu
    20. Nathan Sievert *Super 14 Debut
    21. Chris Siale *Super 14 Debut
    22. Daniel Halangahu


    Is Siale gets a run, watch out. He's DY-NO-MITE!

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    Considering the expected type of match (ie tough) I think Siale is a better option than Beale, even if it is an inury replacement (?dunno).
    From what I have seen on ABC Club Siale is one hard mutha!
    Still tipping the Highlanders though...
    Sievert is also a Senior Rugby debut I believe, straight from Juniors/School?

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    Yeah, tonsillitis (girl).. Ben Hand is out with a back injury too.

    Siale is definitely a tough unit, if he gets some game time he should at least run through a few tired defenders.

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