Waratahs know how to bounce back: Hickey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs know how to bounce back: Hickey

Adrian Warren 22/03/2011 06:29:50 PM Comments (0)

The NSW Waratahs have turned to the history books for proof they can bounce back from their ego-bruising Super Rugby shocker against the Cheetahs.

The 23-3 home loss was widely regarded as one of the Waratahs' worst ever performances and drew boos from their fans.

Coach Chris Hickey is contemplating changes to the side for Saturday's high-pressure clash with the embattled Brumbies in Canberra, though fitness concerns will likely determine how many are made.

Skipper and openside flanker Phil Waugh (bicep) looks certain to return after completing training on Tuesday.

But fellow inspirational forward Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) may be in doubt again after sitting out the run.

Winger Drew Mitchell came off early in the session with what officials described as a "twinge", while five-eighth Berrick Barnes (calf) completed the workout.

If Mitchell is OK, Ryan Cross is tipped to start at outside centre, with Lachie Turner moving from that position back to the wing in place of Atieli Pakalani.

Hickey referred to the way his team responded to their last previous embarrassing loss as evidence of their ability to regroup and get their season back on track.

"We experienced it last year when we were in Invercargill and we lost a very important game down there to the Highlanders (26-10)," Hickey told reporters on Tuesday.

"We won the next two back-to-back to gain a place in the semi-finals.

"They are a team that can respond."

Barnes was equally convinced of his team-mates' capacity to quickly regain form.

"This is a very resilient bunch of boys, they've proven that time and time again when a lot of people have been doubting them, so hopefully this weekend will be no different," Barnes said.

Brumbies five eighth Matt Giteau is one person who agrees with Hickey and Barnes, describing the Tahs' loss to the Cheetahs as a "one-off."

Giteau poured some cold water on speculation that he will be shifted from five-eighth to inside centre with Matt Toomua or Christian Lealiifano taking over at playmaker as the Brumbies look to get their backline attack firing.

"It appears I probably will be staying at fly half, but if there was to be a reshuffle, it wouldn't bother me," Giteau said.

"A lot of inside backs are now available and fit, so wherever I'm picked I'm happy with playing."

While Hickey and Barnes both stressed it was a big game for this time of the year, the latter added "it's still swimming season, it's not like it's the end of the world, we've still got a bit of time yet."

Hickey suggested his Wallabies No.8 Wycliff Palu would play a lot longer in his second game back from hamstring issues following his 36 minute cameo against the Cheetahs.

"He's pulled up really well this week, that gives us great optimism to think that he might push out to 60 or 70 minutes on the weekend," Hickey said.

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