Storming Palu to make impact off bench - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storming Palu to make impact off bench

By Samantha Broun 10/02/2009 02:54:16 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs captain Phil Waugh says lack of match practice won't stop Wycliff Palu making a big impact off the bench in the opening Super 14 clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night.

The barnstorming Wallabies No.8 underwent surgery on his shoulder after his spring tour campaign was cut short by injury during the win over France in November.

Palu has missed all of the Waratahs' pre-season games, but Waugh still expected him to make his presence felt after being picked on the bench behind new recruit Scott Fava.

"He's ready to play, he's been doing some contact work over the last week or so," Waugh said.

"It'll be good to have big Cliffy out there ... hopefully he can come on with 30 minutes to go and cause some havoc."

Coach Chris Hickey believed a bench return was the best option as Palu was eased back into action.

"With a serious shoulder operation that he had, we've been monitoring his rehabilitation closely and he's in pretty good shape," Hickey said.

"You can condition yourself as hard as you like but match conditioning - you only get through playing games - and that's the only thing that he is missing."

Meanwhile, flyhalf Kurtley Beale faces the prospect of a first game match-up with All Black Piri Weepu.

Normally a halfback, Weepu appears set to start at No.10 for the Hurricanes following a standout campaign in the Air NZ Cup with Wellington, who won the national competition.

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper is considering starting young All Black Alby Mathewson at nine with Weepu in the chief play-making role.

Weepu played the second half of Saturday's final pre-season match against the Chiefs and Cooper said it was a legitimate option for the season opener against the Waratahs.

"He's an option there for us. We needed to have a look at that combination there with Alby [Mathewson] and I guess it's reinforced what Wellington did with him," Cooper told New Zealand's Dominion Post on Sunday.

Daniel Kirkpatrick and Willie Ripia have both played at flyhalf during the Hurricanes mixed pre-season, but after a win over the Blues and losses to the Brumbies and Chiefs, Cooper looks set to rethink his nine and ten combinations.

Hooker Andrew Hore (ankle) and openside flanker Josh Bradnock (knee) have been ruled out through injury, while centre Conrad Smith (groin) is unlikely to play.

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