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.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 May 2016
Hurricanes v Highlanders 07h35 Wellington
Waratahs v Chiefs 09h40 Sydney
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Connacht 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 0 5 30
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Highlanders 11 8 0 3 37
Hurricanes 11 7 0 4 36
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4