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Hickey challenges 'Tahs No.10 to back up

By Darren Walton 03/04/2009 05:00:03 PM Comments (0)

With Kurtley Beale stalking, NSW coach Chris Hickey has challenged Waratahs five-eighth Daniel Halangahu to prove he's no one-hit wonder in Saturday night's Super 14 clash with the Stormers.

In his first Super rugby start for the Waratahs in two seasons, Halangahu racked up 17 points from a try and five goals from six attempts to spearhead the Waratahs to a rare victory over the Blues in Auckland last weekend.

Halangahu's five-star display not only helped revive the Waratahs' season, after successive losses to the Brumbies and Crusaders, and vindicated Hickey's decision to bench the misfiring Beale - but also would have caught the attention of the Stormers.

Hickey admitted there is now added pressure on Halangahu, but backed the 25-year-old to once again produce the goods as the second-placed Tahs chase an 11th consecutive win at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"Every team does a fair bit of analysis on their opposition. There's no doubt about that," Hickey said.

"Playing one game is one thing. Backing it up with a second game is another.

"But, look, 'Hangers' is an experienced player and I've got no doubt that he can put a similar performance on the park this week.

"There's no doubt that consistency has been the hallmark of Daniel's game and we feel very confident moving into this game with him at 10."

Beale had a two-year mortgage on the NSW No.10 jumper before being shunned to the reserves' bench and then failing to get even a minute's game time against the Blues.

At times during Friday's captain's run he ran at fullback in place of Sam Norton-Knight - who has a minor calf strain - and Hickey said he'd definitely be looking to inject Beale into the fray against the Stormers.

"Kurtley, as well as playing 10, also has a capacity to play at 15 and can perhaps brings something to the game," Hickey said.

"So we'll see how the game's developing but that's certainly an option for us during the game.

"Kurtley still has a lot to offer. Whether it's at 10, 15 and he's also trained at 12."

Halangahu is far from the only NSW player on notice to keep delivering, with the Waratahs desperate to open a three-game block of home fixtures in winning fashion before heading off on a testing three-match tour of South Africa.

"If we don't back it up this week, in many ways we've wasted the effort from last week. That's important," Hickey said.

"That (Blues) game really set us up for three home games now and we really need to perform over the next three weeks.

"If we do that, we'll put ourselves into a good space moving into the South African tour."

Skipper Phil Waugh said motivation shouldn't be an issue for a Waratahs side up against a Stormers outfit with their season on the line and boasting class all over the park, headed by Springboks flanker Schalk Berger and centre Jean De Villiers.

"They're probably one of the most dangerous teams in the comp," Waugh said.

"At the start of the season, you probably would have said they would be right up there at this stage of the season.

"So we're fully aware of how dangerous they are, so it's important we front up."

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