Wounded Waratahs don't risk injured duo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wounded Waratahs don't risk injured duo

By Adrian Warren 26/04/2010 05:17:56 PM Comments (0)

The recuperating duo of prop Benn Robinson and centre Rob Horne won't be risked in the Waratahs' Super 14 rugby clash with the Highlanders in Invercargill on Friday.

Robinson (forearm) and Horne (buttock) were late withdrawals from last Saturday's win over the Brumbies in Sydney.

With the Waratahs having a minimum of three and a potential maximum of five games left if they get to the final, coach Chris Hickey isn't prepared to rush either man back.

However, he said both players could be flown to New Zealand the following week for the fixture against the Chiefs.

He confirmed the Waratahs' deepening injury woes, with hooker Adam Freier (hamstring) and prop Sekope Kepu (calf) likely to be sidelined for two and four weeks respectively.

But Hickey said he was confident the depth in his squad would see them through.

One good piece of news for Hickey on the fitness front is the anticipated return this week from a shoulder injury of Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.

He will replace Freier in Friday's run-on side, while Brumbies-bound prop Dan Palmer is tipped to replace Kepu, with Jeremy Tilse the likely bench prop.

Hickey said the Crusaders upset loss to the Force in Perth last Friday emphasised the Waratahs couldn't afford to be complacent against the twelfth placed Highlanders, who he said would provide a big challenge.

"About 10 of their players come from Southland, which is based down in Invercargill, so they will have a lot of pride in their performance," Hickey said.

"We've got to make sure that on a short preparation we do turn up ready to play."

Hickey said the Highlanders had one of the biggest packs among the New Zealand sides and had in form backs and genuine strike weapons in Israel Dagg and Fetu'u Vainikolo.

He believed the furore over the performance of referee Steve Walsh, who made some contentious decisions in last Saturday's Brumbies-Waratahs game probably wasn't justified after watching a replay.

"It was probably a difficult game for him to manage, I think if you go back and actually review his decisions in the cold light of Monday morning, you will look at them and say he got most of them right," Hickey said.

While fledgling Super franchise Melbourne Rebels are reportedly interested in players from the embattled Melbourne Storm NRL side, Hickey said the Waratahs wouldn't be making any offers, even while admitting Billy Slater and Greg Inglis were "outstanding athletes".

"I think there's some very good footballers at the Storm, but we are more focused on developing some of the young players that we have in our squad," Hickey said.

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