Waratahs sweating on Tuqiri injury - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs sweating on Tuqiri injury

By Adrian Warren 02/05/2009 04:09:23 PM Comments (0)

A knee injury to veteran winger Lote Tuqiri could force NSW Waratahs' rugby coach Chris Hickey to alter his backline again for next week's crunch Super 14 clash with the Sharks in Durban.

Tuqiri, the Waratahs' all-time leading try scorer in Super competition, came off the field half-an-hour into his team's 18-10 win over the last-placed Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Hickey said his medical staff's initial diagnosis of the injury was a dislocated knee cap and that it was "not too bad".

He said they would have to wait around another 24 hours to ascertain the full extent of the injury and whether Tuqiri would be fit to face the Sharks.

"We've got an eight-day turnaround there and the extra 24 hours might prove to be useful for us," Hickey told AAP.

The victory lifted NSW from eighth to fourth, but the Sharks, Force and Brumbies all have an opportunity to move above the Waratahs if they win on Saturday night.

NSW scored two tries to one and turned in a dominant forward performance, at both the set-piece and breakdown, but yet again blew several scoring opportunities through poor execution.

The new centre combination of Kurtley Beale and Timana Tahu added some creativity to the Waratahs' midfield with their purposeful running and passing.

However, the experiment offered only a tantalising cameo of what the new combination could offer as Beale was moved to fullback as part of a reshuffle following Tuqiri's departure.

"Because of Lote's injury we weren't able to actually keep Kurtley there, but I think there's enough positives out of what we saw tonight," Hickey said.

"We saw Timana Tahu show really good skill, particularly when he was able to be put into some space.

"That's a credit to the people inside him who created the opportunities there."

Both NSW tries were the result of some slick backline play.

Fullback Lachie Turner, who switched to the wing following Tuqiri's injury, wriggled through two defenders to score the opening try in the 24th minute following good initial work from Beale and Tahu.

Up 8-0 at half-time, NSW skipped to an 18-3 lead after five-eighth Daniel Halangahu converted a try to replacement halfback Luke Burgess and then kicked a penalty.

The Cheetahs' best attacking moments came in the first and last five minutes of the match with replacement JW Jonker crossing with two minutes to go.

"Our defence was a fairly strong point in the game and without that it was a game we could have easily lost," Hickey said.

The Waratahs constantly pressured the Cheetahs' scrum and pinched several of their lineout throws.

"There are two areas that we have performed well in all year and I thought our scrum was really dominant and we contested hard and were able to put their lineout under pressure," Hickey said.

"We are still not finishing a few things off. We created a few more opportunities out there we didn't take, just small errors, dropped passes and things like that."

The only other significant injury concern, apart from Tuqiri was hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who rolled an ankle.

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