Israel Folau is expected to return for theTahs this weekend. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Force v Waratahs
Saturday, April 12 – 7.40pm (AEST)
What did they do last week?
The Force made it four wins on the trot for the first time in their history with a last-gasp 32-29 victory over the Reds. The Waratahs won in Cape Town for the first time since 2006, beating the Stormers 22-11 in a physical game.
Things you need to know:
The Force will be without in-form centre Junior Rasolea, with South African Marcel Brache expected to wear the number 13 jumper. Openside flanker Chris Alcock and second-rower Hugh McMeniman are still sidelined through injury. The Force are this season's overachievers. They are third on the Australian conference table and fifth overall after four wins from six matches.
The Waratahs are expected to welcome Wallabies Israel Folau (throat) and Wycliff Palu (ankle) but last week's win came at a price. Wingers Peter Betham (broken foot) and Alofa Alofa (knee) are unavailable, while prop Sekope Kepu (ankle) and utility Matt Carraro (head cut) are both in some doubt. Rob Horne is also available after serving a one-match ban for a swinging arm. The Waratahs are second on the Aussie conference ladder and fourth overall.
Reason to watch:
Israel Folau. The Waratahs superstar missed both games of the South Africa tour with a throat injury suffered against the Rebels in Round 6. He is the best player to watch in rugby – so watch him!
Reason to turn away:
If big Izzy cops another knock to the throat. The Waratahs need the dual international on the field and so do the Wallabies later in the year.
"We're realistic, we've had a nice start to the season, we've won four games. But last year we won four games and drew one, so we still haven't bettered that. If we get past last year then we start to chase some of the things we're aspiring to this year, but we're pretty realistic about it," – Force coach Michael Foley.
The Waratahs have won the last three meetings between these two sides including their previous two trips to Perth. But disregard history ahead of Saturday's clash. It might be too early to say this Force team have turned the corner, but they're certainly playing like they have. The Waratahs are wounded and tired after travelling to Africa and will ride the Force bandwagon for at least another week. Force by five.
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