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."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28