Waratahs v Chiefs, preview

April 27, 2007 - 10:30am
Story by: Sportal

Venue & time:

Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Friday April 27, 19:40 AEST.

Head to head:

Played 11 – Waratahs 7, Chiefs 4.

Last time:

May 6, 2006 (Hamilton) – Chiefs 37-33 Waratahs.

Walking wounded & team changes:

Wallabies Wycliff Palu and Adam Freier return to the starting side while Josh Holmes continues at halfback in place of the injured Josh Valentine (knee) and Brett Sheehan (rib). Kurtley Beale is over the flu and takes a spot on the bench. Captain Phil Waugh is another week away.

All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina makes an earlier-than-expected return this week and starts in a surprise move; most were expecting him to be introduced off the bench. Tom Willis sustained a rib injury last week that may rule him out; if not, he'll be on the bench.


The Waratahs can’t take a trick at present; they had a chance to beat the Highlanders after looking likely to suffer a heavy defeat for most of last week’s match, only for Peter Hewat’s conversion to sail wide of the posts (again). They may not have deserved the win over 80 minutes of football, but only the final score matters.

The Chiefs had a fantastic first hour against the Sharks, playing almost error-free rugby in that time, but a 32-3 lead proved to be only just big enough as the Sharks came storming home. Still, the Chiefs are now showing the form they should have been displaying all season and their playoff chances are very much alive.

Who's hot:

Waratahs scrumhalf Josh Holmes made an eye-catching contribution in his debut start at No.9 last week. Lachlan Turner continues to impress, while Wycliff Palu looks like he's getting back to his barnstorming best. Flanker Beau Robinson has also added a bit of feistiness to the pack.

The Chiefs have been dynamic in recent weeks – 15 competition points from three matches says that – and the backs have been cashing in on the hard work done up front. Look for Keith Robinson, Simms Davison and Liam Messam in the close-quarter stuff, Sione Lauaki carrying the ball up and Marty Holah pinching any loose pill on the ground. Add Stephen Donald – the competition's leading scorer – and his burgeoning combination with Tasesa Lavea to the speed of Sitiveni Sivivatu and it's a potent attacking force. Apart from a sometimes shaky lineout, the Chiefs have very few worries at the moment.



1. Matt Dunning,
2. Adam Freier (c),
3. Al Baxter,
4. Dean Mumm,
5. Will Caldwell,
6. Rocky Elsom,
7. Beau Robinson,
8. Wycliff Palu,

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

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau,
17. Benn Robinson,
18. Tim Davidson,
19. David Lyons,
20. Daniel Halangahu,
21. Kurtley Beale,
22. Chris Siale.


1. Simms Davison,
2. Aled de Malmanche,
3. Nathan White,
4. Jono Gibbes (c),
5. Keith Robinson,
6. Liam Messam,
7. Marty Holah,
8. Sione Lauaki,

9. Brendon Leonard,
10. Stephen Donald,
11. Sitiveni Sivivatu,
12. Tasesa Lavea,
13. Dwayne Sweeney,
14. Roy Kinikinilau,
15. Mils Muliaina.

16. Craig West /Tom Willis,
17. Ben Castle,
18. Kristian Ormsby,
19. Steven Bates,
20. David Bason,
21. Tane Tu'ipulotu,
22. Lelia Masaga.