Israel Folau has tasted victory just twice in his first season. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Two weeks ago Queensland fell victim to the Western Force when the Perth-based side out-enthused them at Suncorp Stadium. If New South Wales wants to play any role whatsoever at the business end of the season, then Sunday’s match against Force is one it can’t afford to lose.
Force coach Michael Foley left the Waratahs after a disastrous season but one bonus is that he’ll have plenty of inside knowledge about his opponents. ‘Tahs mentor Michael Chieka has acknowledged that, but he has looked outside the square this week bringing in good friend and former rugby league international Brad Fittler to work with the team at training. In particular, Fittler spent plenty of time with impressive young fly-half Bernard Foley.
Surprisingly, Force has won on two of its four visits to the Sydney Football Stadium, while the West Australians also left with a draw back in 2007. Their two victories in the Harbour City were both one-point thrillers. Foley’s side couldn’t back up its stunning win over the Reds last week, falling away in the second half to go down 19-10 to South Africa’s Cheetahs. Hooker Nathan Charles is out but former Waratahs and Brumbies utility Sam Norton-Knight is set to make his debut for the Perth side.
For the ‘Tahs, halfback Brendan McKibbin is expected to recover from a shoulder injury to play while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will also be available after missing the past two weeks, which included the vital 30-27 triumph over the Blues last weekend.
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