Tahs Building Momentum

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Ashley-Cooper is in great form for the Tahs. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Chiefs v Waratahs
Yarrow Stadium, New Zealand
Saturday May 31 – 2:35 PM (AEST)

Form
Chiefs:
WLWWL
Waratahs: WLWWW

One side is building momentum, the other is starting to lose it. The Waratahs  are coming off three straight wins - the latest and impressive 41-19 victory over the Rebels last week. On the other hand, the Chiefs  are backing up after a very disappointing 45-8 loss to the Hurricanes. The reigning champs will almost definitely bounce back, but they run the risk of losing touch with the top six if they lose on Saturday.

The Waratahs were outstanding last week. Almost nothing could go wrong for them. Izzy Falou was sensational at the back, Adam Ashley-Cooper was strong out wide and Mike Hooper was dominant in and around the ruck. The win against the Rebels puts them on-top of the Australian Conference, three points clear of the Force and four points ahead of the Brumbies. Coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged line-up.

The Champs had one of their worst performances for some time against the Hurricanes last Saturday. The Chiefs usually dominant defense was pierced way too easily, and the men in yellow took every opportunity afforded them. Dropping out of the top six should definitely fuel the fire to turn their season around. Coach Dave Rennie has made some massive changes heading into Saturday’s clash. Up front, Jamie Mackintosh starts at prop, with Matt Symons at lock. Liam Messam regains his No.6 jersey, while Liam Squire starts at No.8. Aaron Cruden is at fly-half, Andrew Horrell moves to inside centre and Tim Nanai-Williams shifts to outside centre. Pauliasi Manu, Mike Fitzgerald, Tanerau Latimer, Gareth Anscombe and Bundee Aki all revert to the reserves.

This will be the match-up of the round. Even though the Chiefs were belted last week, they have too much talent to let it happen again. The Tahs need to be on their game or they might get a rude shock.

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