Baxter out, Barnes in doubt for 'Tahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Baxter out, Barnes in doubt for 'Tahs

Adrian Warren 28/03/2011 08:26:11 PM Comments (0)

The Waratahs have lost yet another front row forward to injury and are still waiting on the availability of five-eighth Berrick Barnes for Friday's Super rugby clash with the Chiefs at Sydney Football Stadium.

Veteran prop Al Baxter was ruled out of the match with a dislocated thumb and swollen foot, while Barnes suffered a head knock - his second of the season - during Saturday's hard-fought win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

He was checked out by the team doctor on Monday and sent for further tests, with NSW coach Chris Hickey to make a selection decision after getting the results on Tuesday.

Baxter's place is likely to go to Sekope Kepu, who deputised well for the Waratahs' other first-choice prop, Benn Robinson, who missed the Brumbies game with a rib injury.

Hickey said Robinson and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who has missed the last two matches with a knee injury, could both come back into selection calculations for this week's game.

Following their awful display against the lowly rated Cheetahs, The Waratahs are determined not to underestimate the struggling Chiefs,

"No way, they are a great side, we've had some really big battles against them over the last couple of years," said NSW winger Lachie Turner.

Hickey suggested the Chiefs were a better side than their lowly ladder position might indicate.

"I know they are sitting at the bottom of the NZ conference but they are probably a bit like the Cheetahs, it doesn't indicate the ability that the team has got," Hickey said.

"Their back three are outstanding. I thought their back row this year too has been terrific ... so there's a lot of challenges around the breakdown with them."

Hickey said he had spoken to his players about the need for a much better kicking game against the Chiefs.

"It was an element of our game against the Brumbies that we weren't satisfied with and particularly against these guys it's got to be very tight, very accurate," Hickey said.

Discipline was another area addressed by Hickey in the washup of the Brumbies game after his team was caned 17-7 in the penalty count.

"We need to take care of that ourselves and take that out of the referee's hands," Hickey said.

Turner recognised Friday's game offered the Waratahs a chance to win back their fans after they jeered them off the field following the Cheetahs game.

"I can guarantee you are not going to get the same thing from us this Friday night, so it will be a vastly different performance, Turner said.

He was hoping his friend Adam Ashley-Cooper would choose to join the Waratahs next season, with the Brumbies and Wallabies utility back believed to be close to making a decision on his preferred Super team for 2012.

"We'd love to see him in a sky blue jersey," Turner said.

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