Waratahs To Bounce Back

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Israel Folau set to return for the Waratahs. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Waratahs v Bulls
Allianz Stadium
Saturday April 19 – 7:40pm (AEST)

What did they do last week? The Waratahs dominated possession but couldn't crack the in-form Force, going down 28-16 in Perth. The Bulls are coming off a 27-20 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Things you need to know: The Waratahs welcome dual international Israel Folau back from a throat injury. The superstar full-back has missed the last three games. He was named to play last week but the ARU's chief medico overruled Waratahs officials and made Folau sit out. Folau was given the green light to return this weekend by the ARU on Wednesday. Inside-centre Kurtley Beale is also under an injury cloud but is expected to play. Number eight Wycliff Palu has been named to return following the death of his father. The Waratahs are third in the Aussie conference and fifth overall.

The Bulls have named an unchanged starting side after skipper Flip van der Merwe passed a fitness Test on Wednesday. Winger Akona Ndungane will have to wait one more week to return from a hamstring injury. The Bulls are three-and-four this season to sit second in the South Africa conference and eighth overall.

Reason to watch: Folau. The Waratahs have lost two of the three games the gun full-back has missed and have sorely missed his try-scoring abilities. He's scored eight tries in four games this season.

Reason to turn away: If one of those nasty brutes from Pretoria gets hold of poor old Izzy and causes more damage to his throat.

Say what: "Hopefully he will be cleared to play," - Waratahs defence coach Nathan Grey emphasises the importance of Folau.

Final instructions: The Bulls have won eight straight against the Waratahs since 2006 including three in Sydney. However, the visitors have lost all four of their away games this season including consecutive losses to the Hurricanes and Highlanders to start their Australasian tour. The Waratahs are coming off a disappointing loss to the Force and have won just one of their last three games. But the return of Israel Folau for their first home clash in a month will be enough to get the Tahs over the line. Waratahs by 10.

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