Waratahs Ready To Bloom Against Chiefs

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Israel Folau has been in good form. Image courtesy of Getty Images/dailytelegraph.com
The Waratahs  can keep the pressure on for a wildcard place in the Super Rugby finals with a win over the Chiefs  at Allianz Stadium on Friday night. With a host of mid-table teams jostling for a place in the top six, this match shapes as a crucial clash for Michael Cheika’s men who could jump from 10th to sixth if other results go their way. Since losing three of their opening four matches this season, New South Wales has improved its results by winning home matches against the Blues and Force but suffered a 41-29 defeat to the Hurricanes at the start of the month before having last weekend off.

Winger Cam Crawford will debut for Waratahs at Allianz Stadium, while the side is also boosted by the return of Wallaby representatives Tatafu Polota-Nau and Wycliff Palu. Polota-Nau hasn’t figured since coming off the bench in his sides win over the Force last month, while Palu has been out of action since injuring his ankle against the Brumbies in week three.

Following their 31-23 defeat to the Reds at Waikato Stadium last week, the Chiefs have made a host of changes, with Gareth Anscombe and Tim Nanai-Williams the biggest casualties. Bundee Aki is suspended, with Richard Kahui moving into his vacant number 12 jersey, while former All Black halfback Brendon Leonard plays his first game of the year after recovering from a broken jaw.

The Waratahs have really struggled away from home this season, failing to win a match from three attempts but have fared much better at Allianz Stadium, where there are three from four. The Chiefs have lost just twice this season, but one of those defeats was last week against the Reds while the other was on the tough road trip to Cape Town against the Stormers. Although travelling to Sydney won’t hold the same fears that the long journey to South Africa holds, the Chiefs will be well aware of threat that NSW poses on its own turf.

Click here to bet on Super Rugby Week 10 matches