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Super Rugby preview – Waratahs

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 17 Feb 2012 at 08:05
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

The Waratahs will be go into the Super Rugby campaign wondering what else they have to do to win this competition. Year on year they have the most exciting and most star studded squad of all the Australian franchises, yet they just don’t seem to have the ability to put together the perfect season.

The team has recruited well, with Wallaby utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper joining the team, as well as scooping South African Super Rugby player of the year in 2011 Sarel Pretorius from the Cheetahs. Along with fit again pivot Berrick Barnes, who had a terrible 2011 season with a near career ending run of head injuries, the team is looking good yet again.

A front row consisting of Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kefu, and throw in there second rowers like Dean Mumm and Dan Vickerman, and you have a decent tight five, give the base for Wucliff Palu to run havoc off the back of the scrum.

It is the backline though, that has the flair, attacking game and necessary finishing quality to put any game beyond doubt, with the halfback partnership of Pretorius and Barnes possessing the talent to make life hell for any other team. The centre combination of Tom Carter and Rob Horne is something I would keep an eye on, as they will be solid in the midfield, and able to put away the likes of Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

There is already a few injury concerns though, with Drew Mitchell already missing the opening round and Lachie Turner ruled out for most of the season, the wing depth will be tested early already. I suspect that Tom Carter might get shifted to the wing to cover, with Daniel Halangahu and Barnes making up the 10-12 positions.

Players to keep an eye on during this tournament will definitely be Sarel Pretorius, as he will aim to impress as well as the centres Carter and Horne, who are primed to have a good season.

The Waratahs should be able to top the Australian conference if they manage to rule out any long term injuries and close out tight games, but I fear the Reds will have too much and the Waratahs will have to be happy with second. Whether that is enough for a playoff spot, remains to be seen.

Chris Alcock (Eastwood),
Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs),
Berrick Barnes (Sydney University),
Tom Carter (Sydney University),
Dave Dennis (Sydney University),
Kane Douglas (Southern Districts),
Rocky Elsom (Randwick),
Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood),
Bernard Foley (Sydney University),
Daniel Halangahu (Sydney University),
Rob Horne (Southern Districts),
Brackin Karauria-Henry (Southern Districts),
Sekope Kepu (Randwick),
Tom Kingston (Sydney University),
Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University),
Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs),
Drew Mitchell (Balmain),
Dean Mumm (Sydney University),
Atieli Pakalani (Randwick),
Wycliff Palu (Manly),
Greg Peterson (Manly),
Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta),
Sarel Pretorius (TBC),
Benn Robinson (Eastwood),
Paddy Ryan (Sydney University),
Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University),
Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts),
Lachie Turner (Eastwood),
John Ulugia (Southern Districts),
Dan Vickerman (Sydney University).
Extended Playing Squad
Grayson Hart (Southern Districts), Tevita Metuisela (Manly), Lotu Taukeiaho (Randwick), Lopeti Timani (Southern Districts), Nathan Trist (Sydney University).


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