Cheika wields a heavy axe

Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:15
Large wycliff palu

Veteran No.8 Wycliff Palu will return to the starting line-up as the Waratahs bid to end their erratic form in recent weeks.

Veteran No.8 Wycliff Palu will return to the starting line-up as the Waratahs bid to end their erratic form in recent weeks.

The Waratahs are at home to the New Zealand conference-leading Hurricanes in Sydney on Saturday.

After the disappointment of last weekend's loss to the Blues in Auckland, the Waratahs are determined to keep their 100 percent Allianz Stadium 2014 record alive and record their first win over the Canes since 2010.

"We are aiming for consistency every week and will be looking to fix up our handling errors and our commitment to detail in finishing off the chances we make," said assistant coach Nathan Grey.  

Palu is one of three new faces and five positional changes made to the starting XV by coach Michael Cheika for the clash against a Hurricanes team that sits two points and three places above the Tahs on the competition ladder.

He is joined in the run-on side by wing Matt Carraro, favoured over Cam Crawford, and Paddy Ryan, who takes over from Sekope Kepu.

It's three weeks since Palu has started a game. The veteran No.8 missed out on the Stormers, Force and Bulls games before making his return off the bench last week against the Blues at Eden Park.

Flank and vice-captain Michael Hooper says his inclusion can't be over-estimated.

"First of all, it's great motivation having Cliff back, it will be nice to have the big man back," said Hooper.

"His physicality and the opposition knowing he's in the team is a good to have."

Looking to end a two-game losing streak to the Canes, Palu's inclusion forces skipper Dave Dennis to blindside flank, with Hooper remaining at openside.

Jacques Potgieter will move to lock to partner Kane Douglas, with Will Skelton coming off the bench.

Up front, Sekope Kepu has made way for Paddy Ryan at tighthead, Benn Robinson is on the openside, with Tatafu Polota Nau playing hooker.

There's just one change to the backline with Matt Carraro, who spent five seasons in Europe before returning to the Waratahs in 2014, replaces Cam Crawford on the wing for his first starting role of the season.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Sekope Kepu, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Cam Crawford, Alofa Alofa.

Date: Saturday, May 3
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (09.40 GMT; 21.40 NZ time)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia) , Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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Sat, 10 October 2015
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Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
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Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
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France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26