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, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
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Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
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