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Thread: Waugh returns at last, Holmes dropped

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    Waugh returns at last, Holmes dropped

    Waugh returns at last, Holmes dropped

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007

    NSW Waratahs captain Phil Waugh will return for his first Super 14 match since round three in Saturday's clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington but young halfback star Josh Holmes has been dropped.

    Inspirational Wallabies openside flanker Waugh passed a fitness test on his injured ankle today and will start the second-last placed Waratahs' last match of the competition.

    It's sure to be an emotional occasion with former All Blacks and Hurricanes captain Tana Umaga playing the last match of his career before his adoring home fans.

    "To say I'm keen to play is an understatement," said Waugh.

    "It's been extremely frustrating sitting on the sidelines and hopefully I can make a worthy contribution to what is going to be a huge game given that its Tana Umaga's farewell appearance."

    "He's a player respected by his teammates and opposition alike and I'm glad to be part of it."

    Promising No.9 Holmes, who is heading to the Brumbies next season, has been a standout for NSW in the last two weeks.

    But he has missed out with Josh Valentine returning to the starting lineup and Brett Sheehan named on the bench after both recovered from injury.

    The Waratahs fly to Wellington on Friday morning.

    NSW:

    1. Benn Robinson,
    2. Adam Freier,
    3. Al Baxter,
    4. Dean Mumm,
    5. Will Caldwell,
    6. Rocky Elsom,
    7. Phil Waugh (c),
    8. Wycliff Palu,
    9. Josh Valentine,
    10. Sam Norton-Night,
    11. Lote Tuqiri,
    12. Sam Harris,
    13. Ben Jacobs,
    14. Lachlan Turner,
    15. Peter Hewat,
    16. Tatafu Polota-Nau,
    17. Matt Dunning,
    18. David Lyons,
    19. Tim Davidson,
    20. Brett Sheehan,
    21. Daniel Halangahu,
    22. Chris Siale.


    AAP

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    Links comments in a lovely shade of brown because that is what they are...

    Tahs drop ACT-bound Holmes

    By Jon Geddes
    May 03, 2007


    JOSH Holmes is one of Australia's most exciting rugby prospects who has been tipped as a bolter for the World Cup in France.

    But instead of helping the New South Wales Waratahs in their final Super 14 game in Wellington on Saturday, he will be playing a club game for Eastwood against the lowly Penrith Emus.

    Last night, Holmes - who has signed to play with the Brumbies next year - admitted he was disappointed but remained diplomatic about his shock axing from the Waratahs squad for what would have been his last game for NSW.

    "I was a little surprised, I thought I have been playing pretty well the last few weeks," he said.

    "I would have liked to have another crack at Super 14, I have been enjoying it the last couple of weeks.

    "I was looking forward to having a go against the Hurricanes, but unfortunately not."

    Eastwood and Australia under-21 coach Chris Hickey was also surprised Holmes had been dropped.

    "His form has been excellent and he provided real spark to the team," Hickey said.

    Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie strenuously denied any suggestion Holmes was dropped because he has signed with the Brumbies.

    Instead he said Holmes had made way for Wallabies Josh Valentine and Brett Sheehan.

    "Josh has been doing a good job but we have a couple of Wallaby halfbacks coming back in," he said.

    Two weeks ago, when Valentine last played, he was man of the match.

    "I understand a lot of people have opinions but we are trying to be objective about what is the best thing for us playing Wellington in Wellington," McKenzie said.

    "I looked at the task ahead and across the board we favoured experience."

    He said Holmes had certainly been adding value to the team, particularly in the attacking support part of the game.

    "This game is going to be as much about defence as it is about attack," McKenzie said, adding he held off bringing Valentine and Sheehan back until they were 100 per cent fit.

    "There are no sour grapes elements from my perspective. If I had sour grapes I could have played someone else, so I don't see any issue there at all," he said.

    "We played last week without a halfback on the bench last week, so we showed confidence in him."


    Holmes has been buoyed by the news he is on the Australia selectors' radar for the World Cup - although he still needs to lift a few aspects of his game.

    "To be picked in the World Cup would be an amazing thing to happen, but that is a little while away," he said.

    "I'll go back to grade and play this week and see what happens with selection and things like that."

    It has been a frustrating season for Holmes with two Wallabies halfbacks also in the Waratahs squad.

    "It's been a bit hard at times playing behind Josh and Brett and not getting a chance earlier in the year," he said.

    "But I had to be patient and wait for my time to come around and it did."

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    i guess he can't really say the truth. i would be doing the same thing if i was him.

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