Waratahs wait on injured Wallabies trio - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs wait on injured Wallabies trio

By Adrian Warren 14/02/2011 05:28:12 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs coach Chris Hickey will give three injured Wallabies until Wednesday before deciding whether to play them against newcomers Melbourne in Friday's Super Rugby opening round clash at AAMI Park.

A Waratahs squad will be named on Tuesday but prop Benn Robinson (calf), centre Rob Horne (elbow) and No.8 Wycliff Palu (hamstring) will all be reassessed on Wednesday before Hickey finalises his line-up.

The Waratahs have also unveiled a new four-man leadership group including skipper Phil Waugh and three players from different sections of the team.

Lock Dean Mumm will represent the tight five, five-eighth Berrick Barnes the inside backs and winger Drew Mitchell the outside backs in support of loose forward Waugh.

"Waughy is the captain and provides great leadership and welcomes the input that comes from those sort of players," Hickey said.

While the Waratahs brain trust has scrutinised the Rebels' trials, Hickey expected Melbourne's style could evolve through the competition.

"The games we saw, particular the Crusaders game, I was impressed with their scrum and lineout, I thought they performed very well in that area," Hickey said.

"Our focus will be pretty strongly on how we want to play, rather than on how they are going to play.

"Probably the advantage they have got at the moment is the unknown and on top of that, obviously with their first game, there won't be any lack of motivation and certainly I don't think there will be any lack of support.

"That's quite a difficult mix for us to deal with."

Mitchell felt Melbourne had the firepower to play a very direct game through their pack and powerful, hard-running midfield backs Stirling Mortlock and Cooper Vuna.

"Both (Mortlock and Vuna) trialled really well, so I think they can get that go-forward they need and that direct play and play off the back of that," Mitchell said.

"But they've also got some outside backs that can cut us open.

"We are expecting them to bring that physicality and also they've got that variation in terms of playing a bit wider."

Mitchell dismissed as "a bit of rubbish" Melbourne's suggestion they were aiming just to be competitive in their opening season.

"I think we can throw away those comments and disregard them because we're certainly preparing for these guys to come out with all guns blazing," Mitchell said.

"They are a new franchise, it's their first game, I don't think we can sit there and cop the tag of them being just competitive."

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