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
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9