Cheika backs Bulls-beaters

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:18
Large tahs unchanged

Waratahs head coach Michael Chieka has named an unchanged side to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

Waratahs head coach Michael Chieka has named an unchanged side to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.
 
Cheika has kept the faith with the same starting line-up that did the job in their 19-12 win over the Bulls in Sydney last week.
 
After notching up an important away against the Stormers in South Africa three weeks ago, Cheika's charges are now looking to add a second away victory to their record. 
 
Although the Waratahs won the last competitive encounter against the Blues (as well as February’s pre-season trial), it has been five years since their last away win, a narrow 27-22 Phil Waugh-led victory at Eden Park back in March 2009.  
 
The only other two contests to be played in Auckland since then both came in 2011, when the Blues recorded back to back wins, with the latter (a 26-13 Super Rugby qualifying final result) ending the Waratahs’ finals hopes.  
 
This Friday’s crucial ANZAC Day encounter will see the Waratahs field an all-Wallaby front row, with Benn Robinson at loosehead prop, Sekope Kepu at tighthead prop and Tatafu Polota Nau at hooker.
 
Playing his best rugby of the season, Will Skelton retains his position at lock alongside the resilient Kane Douglas, who’ll earn his 66th Waratahs cap.
 
Crowd favourite Jacques Potgieter will start at blindside flank.  On the openside is last week’s Man of the Match, Michael Hooper, and captain Dave Dennis is at the back of the pack at eighthman.
 
Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley continue their run of starting every game this season in the scrumhalf and flyhalf positions, with the latter needing just 17 points to become the Waratahs’ eighth most prolific Super Rugby points-scorer. 
 
Recovering from an injured ankle, Kurtley Beale will start at inside centre with Adam Ashley Cooper, who is chasing seven points to rack up for 100 Super Rugby points, at number 13.
 
The back three will see wingers Rob Horne and Cam Crawford combined with fullback Israel Folau, who needs just one more try to equal the Waratahs’ record for most individual Super Rugby tries in a season. 
 
There is a change on the replacements bench however, as Cheika has named a nine-man bench to travel to Auckland, with one player still to be omitted to form the matchday 23.
 
Veteran Wycliff Palu returns to the matchday 23 via the bench after missing the last two games.
 
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Stephen Hoiles.
 
Date: Friday, April 24
Venue: Eden Park Auckland
Kick-off: 17.35 (05.35 GMT; 15.35 AEST)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 May 2016
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
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
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Connacht v Leinster 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
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 12 9 0 3 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
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