Injuries hamper 'Tahs preparation

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 09:03
Large michael cheika630

The Waratahs are sweating over a number of key players as they head into their final warm-up game against the Crusaders on Thursday.
 

The Waratahs are sweating over a number of key players as they head into their final warm-up game against the Crusaders on Thursday.

NSW centre Rob Horne will be sidelined for at least one month with a hamstring tear as new coach Michael Cheika deals with a spate of backline injuries just over a week out from the Waratahs' Super Rugby season opener.

Cheika confirmed on Tuesday the injury-prone No.13 Horne has a grade two hamstring tear and will miss four to six weeks.

Also on the injured list is winger Drew Mitchell (calf strain), who is expected to miss Thursday's trial against the Crusaders in Sydney.

Five-eighth options Berrick Barnes (knee) and Bernard Foley (ankle) are rated 50-50 chances of starting in the Waratahs' opener against the Reds in Brisbane on February 23.

Also in doubt for the start of the season is exciting winger Peter Betham who is battling an ankle injury.

The setbacks to playmakers Barnes and Foley has given 22-year-old Super Rugby rookie Ben Volavola a huge chance to stake a claim for the No.10 spot when he goes up against Crusaders and All Blacks superstar Dan Carter on Thursday.

"They're [injuries] a bit troubling because they are all around that same position that 10, 12, 13," Cheika told AAP.

"But sometimes the circumstances push something to the surface and Ben Volavola is going to get a good chance to take the lead in the race for that 10 jersey.

"There's a few options at 12 obviously. Tom Carter, Michael Hodge are options.

"It just depends on the mix. At this stage I'm not too worried about next week [Reds]. We'll just see who plays well in Thursday's game and try and pick a team from there."

Former Randwick No.8 Cheika has backed Volavola to rise to the challenge of facing Carter after a couple of impressive showings in trials.

"He'll probably be so excited about going out to match up against a guy like Dan Carter," he said.

"And it's up to the rest of the of the team to make sure he can challenge one of the best players in the world in his own position."

Cheika will also throw a rugby lifeline to 30-year-old former Western Force and Melbourne Rebels pivot James Hilgendorf who has returned to Sydney and is working as a teacher.

"If he's feeling comfortable with everything he can have a run on Thursday," he said.

"It would be a big ask for him because he hasn't done a lot of training but that's alright.

"Obviously we've got Sam Lane's contract that we can refill. If James puts his hand up then he's a chance of taking that contract in a few weeks."

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Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
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Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
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Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14