Waratahs call in the cavalry

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 07:32
Large ben volavola waratahs

Injuries to wings Peter Betham and Alofa Alofa forced Waratahs coach Michael Cheika to call in a replacement for the showdown with the Force.

Injuries to wings Peter Betham and Alofa Alofa forced Waratahs coach Michael Cheika to call in a replacement for Saturday's Super Rugby showdown with the in-form Western Force.

Utility back Ben Volavola will fly to Perth as emergency injury cover, after the Waratahs lost two of their outside backs in the 22-11 win over the Stormers at the weekend.

The win came at a cost though, with Betham and Alofa both injured in the battle.

Scans in Cape Town on Sunday confirmed a fracture in Betham's left foot, while fellow speedster Alofa suffered a medial ligament strain in his right knee.

Betham and Alofa stayed overnight in Johannesburg before flying to Sydney on Monday, instead of joining the team who flew straight to Perth for this coming Saturday's re-match with the Force.

But Alofa and Betham aren't the only concerns, with second rower Kane Douglas being monitored for a sore neck after a standout performance against the Stormers.

Utility back Matt Carraro is receiving treatment for a cut to his head and Sekope Kepu picked up an ankle niggle but all three are still hopeful of playing against the fifth-placed Force on Saturday.

On the positive side, Cheika is confident No.8 Wycliff Palu will be fit to play after resting the ankle he hurt in Durban against the Sharks the previous week.

Israel Folau should finally return to the starting side after a throat injury confined his to the sidelines during his week-long visit to South Africa.

The squad arrived in Perth on Monday, leaving them just four days to shake off jet lag and prepare to face the team one rung below them on the table.

The Tahs' 22-11 win over the Stormers in Cape Town is just the second time in 20 attempts that a visiting side had won a game after crossing the Indian Ocean.

It lifts them to fourth on the overall ladder with a game in hand.

The Western Force now sits fifth overall after recording a club record four-game winning streak with a 32-29 victory over the Reds at the weekend.

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