Tahs' big guns out for Benji's Blues

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 10:54
Large israel folau interviewed

The Waratahs will have a full contingent of Wallabies on deck when they run out at home for the first time in 2014.

The Waratahs will have a full contingent of Wallabies on deck when they run out at home for the first time in 2014.

The will bring out all their big guns for the cracking trial game against newcomer Benji Marshall and the Blues at Allianz Stadium on Friday, February 7.

Wallabies Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Michael Hooper are expected to join fellow year-end tourists Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Bernard Foley, Paddy Ryan, Nick Phipps and Peter Betham for the clash against John Kirwan's Blues line up.

The game is also expected to feature new Rugby League convert Benji Marshall.

Only one place separated the two teams last season, with the Tahs finishing in ninth spot ahead of the 10th place Blues.

In their only match-up of the 2013 Super Rugby season, the Waratahs fought back from a half-time deficit to allow Bernard Foley to seal a 30-27 win with a penalty after the bell.

A must–not-miss game, the Waratahs' first match at home for 2014 is a fan's dream - with a likely clash of three of the most instinctive attacking footballers in any code, as Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale go head-to-head against newcomer Marshall, who is set to start his Rugby Union career in the No.15 jumper.

Waratahs assistant coach, All Black Daryl Gibson, said that watching a player with special skills like Marshall will make his initial transition to Rugby Union worth the admission price alone.

But the Blues aren't just a one man team.

Twelve players have international experience. Among the six current All Blacks are Frank Halai who topped the 2013 Super Rugby's try scoring table with 10. Plus they've signed the experienced Ma'a Nonu for the next two years.

"Loaded with a good balance of experience and young exciting talent, the Blues look like a very competitive team this year and I expect them to challenge for the New Zealand conference title," said Gibson.

A Kiwi contest always provides an opportunity to test out set-pieces, defensive and attacking ploys as well as gaining some valuable tough-as-they-come match practice.

* The Waratahs will hit the road at the end of the month in preparation for season 2014, with their three pre-season matches locked in-place.

The road trip will see the Waratahs kick off their trials on the NSW and Victorian border at Albury on February 1, before returning to Sydney's Allianz Stadium for game two the following week.

The Waratahs then head to Newcastle for their final hit out prior to the commencement of the Super Rugby Season.

The Waratahs will take on interstate rivals the Rebels, on the banks of the Murray River in Albury on Saturday, February 1. Next up, is John Kirwan's Blues at Allianz Stadium on Friday, February 7. The Highlanders in the steel city's Hunter Stadium on February 14 completes the Waratahs pre-season program.

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 16h00 Newlands
Pumas v Blue Bulls 16h00 Mbombela Stadium
New Zealand v Tonga 19h00 Newcastle
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pumas v Free State Cheetahs 37 | 37
Fri, 02 October 2015
New Zealand v Georgia 43 | 10
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26