Tahs tick boxes in final trial

Fri, 14 Feb 2014 21:13
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The Waratahs will enter the Super Rugby season high on confidence following their impressive 19-16 win over the Highlanders on Friday.

The Waratahs will enter the Super Rugby season high on confidence following their impressive 19-16 win over the Highlanders at Newcastle’s Hunter Stadium on Friday.

The Tahs, who refused to kick penalties at goal, were full of running and outscored their New Zealand counterparts by three tries to one.

Coach Michael Cheika described it as a good hit-out for his side, who concluded their pre-season match practice with two wins from three trial matches.

“It was exactly what we needed, hard at the breakdown, there was some good and bad but, all in all, I’m happy with the physicality and attention to detail at the ruck,” he said.

Rookie wing Alofa Alofa was one of several players who impressed and made a case for a starting berth in the season opener against the Western Force at Allianz Stadium next weekend.

Showing his dazzling footwork, he beat close to five players, taking the ball 40 metres downfield before offloading and it was only great defence by the Highlanders that saved a five-pointer.

“For the second week in a row, he’s delivered,” enthused Cheika.

Even more eye-catching was Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale, who proved a deadly combination.

Rob Horne started at inside centre but Beale, back after a controversial stint at the Melbourne Rebels, featured there for the majority of the match in a dual playmaking role.

Touching on the pair’s potential as a partnership, Foley said: “Hopefully a lot of potential, hopefully we’ve got 18 games to play together this year and build on it.

“Each week is going to be something different, and there’s going to be great challenges for us.

“There’s great No.12s in the side with Rob Horne, Jono Lance, even Adam Ashley-Cooper can play there.

“There is a lot of competition at No.10 and No.12, and throughout the whole backline which is pretty exciting.”

In more good news for the Sydney side, Cam Crawford, returning from shoulder surgery, came through the match unscathed and was unlucky not to score when he was bundled into touch along with the corner post.

“He’ll definitely play a lot of football this year, he’s got to learn to play for 80 minutes,” said Cheika.

There were two points of concern for Cheika – utility back Jonno Lance, who injured his ribs in the warm up and didn’t play, and the team’s finishing.

“We broke the line at least 10 times but failed to turn those opportunities into points,” said Cheika.

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4