Palu fit but Tahs wait on Waugh
April 8, 2010
Phil Waugh has been given every chance to prove his fitness © Getty Images
The Waratahs will give skipper Phil Waugh as much time as possible to recover from a quad strain prior to their vital Super 14 showdown with the Crusaders in Christchurch this weekend.
Waugh's performance in a fitness Test on Thursday was enough to earn a place on the plane to New Zealand, with impressive youngster Chris Alcock also travelling as cover following a strong showing on debut last weekend.
There was good news for the Super 14 leaders as No.8 Wycliff Palu was cleared to play after passing a test on his hamstring injury while coach Chris Hickey is confident that Waugh will make the game.
"Cliffy's good to go which is great news, and we're really confident with Phil as well," Hickey said. "Phil's injury is one which is hard to play through so we need to be assured he'll be okay to take the field before we finalise the team. At this stage though, we're pretty sure that will be the case. We have no hesitation whatsoever in taking Chris [Alcock] with us to Christchurch and it's certainly a great reward for his match last week."
The Tahs will come up against a familiar face in the Crusaders' second-row as former All Black Chris Jack makes his Super 14 return in place of Sam Whitelock after a stint in England with Saracens. Jack will lock the scrum alongside veteran Brad Thorn while Richie McCaw again starts in the No.6 jersey.
"He's been hounding me for the last three weeks about getting a start - it's such a big game and we're hoping that his experience will come through," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said. "Sam's been going great guns, but it's time to give Chris Jack a crack at the whip and we believe he's ready for a good 80 minutes. They're both good to go and that's great to see. We've got a lot of experience there with Brad and Chris and now we want to see it unleashed.''
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker