No pressure on Hickey to rest stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No pressure on Hickey to rest stars

Ian McCullough 18/01/2011 05:30:48 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs coach Chris Hickey doesn't expect the ARU to order him to rest any of his key players during the Super Rugby season in a bid to keep them fresh for this year's World Cup.

The Waratahs squad is filled with Wallabies stars such as Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale and Benn Robinson, who are certain to be included in Robbie Deans' squad for the tournament, which starts in New Zealand on September 9.

Hickey said he hasn't been told by Deans to rest players, and believes it's unlikely to happen after the All Blacks flopped spectacularly in 2007 despite wrapping their players in cotton wool ahead of the tournament.

NZ coach Graham Henry took the unprecedented step of demanding his big guns be withdrawn from their provincial sides for half of the 2007 Super 14 season.

He then watched his red-hot favourites crash out at the quarter-final stage to their old nemeses France in Cardiff - a result that almost cost him his job.

Despite this, reports in New Zealand say the former Wales and British and Irish Lions coach may adopt the controversial policy again.

Hickey acknowledges that there will need to be cooperation between the Waratahs and Wallabies, and said he would never risk an injured player, but believes momentum is Australia's best option for success.

"I think New Zealand learned a hard lesson at the last World Cup four years ago that resting players does not prepare them the best for a tough competition with the world's best teams," Hickey told AAP.

"The best preparation for the Wallabies going into the World Cup is to have five Australian teams that are playing well and players that are performing week-in week-out.

"Hopefully we can all do that."

Although he is mindful of an extended program with the arrival of the Melbourne Rebels in the competition this year, Hickey believes the ARU and the Super Rugby teams will work together to assess players' conditioning.

"We are in contact with the ARU ahead of this Super Rugby season as it leads directly into the World Cup, so the way the players are managed becomes important," he said.

"We think player management is one of our strong points and we will have dialogue with the ARU because they have a vested interest, but we haven't been given directives to rest players.

"I think at the end of the day a lot of the decisions come down to the player and how he is feeling, there is a big difference between someone who is injured and giving someone a rest."

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