Waugh fit, Beale sick for Waratahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waugh fit, Beale sick for Waratahs

25/03/2009 04:36:48 PM Comments (0)

The NSW Waratahs are looking to new five-eighth Daniel Halangahu to dictate a tightly structured game in their Super 14 rugby clash with the free-running Blues on Friday night.

After two long years playing second fiddle to Kurtley Beale, Halangahu gets his chance after being handed the reins for the clash at Eden Park - where the Waratahs have never won a Super rugby match in five previous attempts.

Struck down with tonsilitis, Beale didn't travel with the NSW squad to Auckland on Wednesday and was expected to join them on Thursday, subject to fitness.

However, coach Chris Hickey had already decided to start Halangahu - who will also assume the goalkicking duties from the benched Beale - as the Waratahs look to rebound from back-to-back losses against the Brumbies and Crusaders.

It's Halangahu's first start in a Super 14 game since round two in 2007 but Hickey believed he was a good fit for the controlled style of game the Waratahs aim to play on Friday.

"Daniel played really well for us when he came on against the Crusaders," Hickey said.

"We felt that perhaps Daniel's strength suited the game plan we wanted to utilise (against the Blues).

"I think Daniel's strength is that he's able to play quite a structured game of football.

"That's probably, particularly playing against the Blues, really important that we maintain our structure in this game."

The Waratahs were buoyed on Wednesday by news inspirational captain Phil Waugh was cleared to play after suffering a lower leg injury against the Crusaders.

In a further boost, NSW's depleted front row has one less headache to contend with after powerful All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock was ruled out with an ear infection and again replaced by rookie Tevita Mailau.

That's a handy break for the Waratahs, who have front-row issues of their own with Wallabies stalwarts Al Baxter and Matt Dunning unavailable.

As always, the Blues have plenty of talent, especially in the backline, but they've proven soft against good opposition this year.

They have leaked more points (196) than any other Super 14 team in 2009 and last week conceded a season-high 63 against the Chiefs.

Blues coach Pat Lam has reshuffled his backline, moving utility Isaia Toeava to outside centre from fullback and restoring Paul Williams at No.15.

Lam has shifted Anthony Tuitavake to the wing in place of dumped Rene Ranger, while Jamie Helleur comes into the side at inside centre.

While Hickey won't name his starting side until Thursday, in addition to confirming Halangahu's promotion, he said Ben Mowen would return to blindside flanker, with Mumm moving to lock in place of youngster Chris Thomson.

Blues: Paul Williams, Anthony Tuitavake, Isaia Toeava, Jamie Helleur, Joe Rokocoko, Jimmy Gopperth, Taniela Moa, Jerome Kaino, Onosai'i Auva'a, Chris Lowrey, Ali Williams, Kurtis Haiu, John Afoa, Keven Mealamu (capt), Tevita Mailau. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Charlie Fauminia, Anthony Boric, Peter Saili, Chris Smylie, Michael Hobbs, Rene Ranger.

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