Waratahs' coach backs club hooker Roberts - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs' coach backs club hooker Roberts

04/05/2011 01:53:48 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs' coach Chris Hickey has backed club rugby call-up Ben Roberts to perform well if needed to debut in Saturday's home Super Rugby clash with the Western Force.

Sydney University hooker Roberts has been promoted to the Waratahs' bench as Tatafu Polota-Nau is rested from the SFS match.

John Ulugia was named on Wednesday to start at hooker in place of Wallabies' star Polota-Nau, who suffered a heavy head-knock for a second consecutive match in last Saturday's victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

"Ben Roberts is more than capable of playing at Super Rugby level," said Hickey.

"You only need to look at Western Force hooker Nathan Charles' performance when he debuted out of club rugby 13 months ago to realise the depth in the Shute Shield is very strong."

The Waratahs and Force clashed four rounds back, with the NSW side scoring a 31-3 victory in Perth, but Hickey said that result would mean nothing on Saturday.

While the Waratahs remain hard-hit by injuries and are again missing skipper Phil Waugh, the Force have since regained champion flanker David Pocock among others and have played strongly.

"Super Rugby is the toughest competition in the world and you certainly can't take anything for granted," said Hickey.

"They've got a number of players back and have had a couple of wins since we last played them so the challenge is there for us this weekend.

"The weather forecast is looking pretty good which suits us and we're planning on getting out there, playing a strong attacking game and, if we execute to the plan, we know we can come away with the points."

NSW Waratahs: Kurtley Beale, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Tom Carter, Sosene Anesi, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, Ben Mowen, Pat McCutcheon, Dave Dennis, Sitaleki Timani, Dean Mumm (capt), Sekope Kepu, John Ulugia, Benn Robinson. Res: Ben Roberts, Al Baxter, Kane Douglas, Chris Alcock, Brendan McKibbin, Daniel Halangahu, Tom Kingston.

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