Palu set for Wellington return
April 2, 2013
Wycliff Palu will be a welcome addition to the Waratahs' squad © Getty Images
Wycliff Palu looks set to return for the New South Waratahs when they play the Hurricanes in Wellington this weekend.
An ankle injury has kept Palu on the sidelines for the past four weeks, but Waratahs coach Michael Cheika won't rush the big No. 8 straight back into a starting position.
Pat McCutcheon, who has impressed as Palu's replacement, is likely to retain his starting spot against the Hurricanes, with Palu making an appearance from the bench.
"Cutch (McCutcheon) has been playing pretty well, so you'd have to think he (Palu) will come off the bench," Cheika siad on Tuesday.
But Cheika expects Palu to have a major impact even off the bench.
"He's a very different player to McCutcheon, so he's going to bring a bit of edge," Cheika said. "Cliff's obviously a player that the opposition pay a fair bit of attention to, so that could open up some space. But I think we need to get some serious go-forward against the Hurricanes (and) to do that players like Cliff are going to have to be at their best."
The Waratahs beat the Western Force on Sunday to take them to within one point of the top six, but Cheika said they'll have to improve defensively if they hope to make it three wins in a row.
"They're pretty handy," Cheika said of the Hurricanes. "If you give them the ball in any type of wrong space they'll clean you up."
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton