Waratahs boosted by Foley return
February 21, 2013
Greg Growden has the latest gossip from the Waratahs, plus Super Rugby and Six Nations preview.
New South Wales Waratahs have gained a major boost ahead of Saturday night's Super Rugby grudge match against Queensland with fly-half Bernard Foley set to overcome injury to take his place in the side. Waratahs coach Michael Cheika on Wednesday night declared Foley fit and available for the Suncorp Stadium clash after pulling up well from his return to training on Tuesday.
The rising linchpin injured his ankle in the last minutes of the Waratahs' second trial against the Blues, presenting Cheika with a major playmaking drama with Berrick Barnes (knee) sidelined. Unheralded rookie Ben Volavola held the reins for the final trial against the Crusaders but now appears set to play off the bench with Foley to start opposite Quade Cooper.
"I think (Foley) is going to be okay," Cheika told AAP. "He pulled up from training yesterday really well so all going well he'll be available for selection."
Cheika will unveil his team for his Super Rugby coaching debut on Thursday and two Wallabies could well be left on the bench amid frenzied competition for places. Former Brumbies and Reds lock/flanker Mitchell Chapman may be the one bolter in the Waratahs' Test-quality pack which has been improved by the recruitment of flanker Michael Hooper.
Kane Douglas is still working his way back from an ankle injury and may be eased into action off the bench with Chapman on track to start alongside Sitaleki Timani in the second-row. Rising winger Tom Kingston's sizzling pre-season form and Lachie Turner's strong return from hamstring surgery may also see Test star Drew Mitchell named as a reserve.
While Volavola is set to be a back-up, he won't think twice about confronting Cooper and the Reds' sparkling backline. The unheralded Waratahs No.10 last week squared off against childhood hero and Crusaders maestro Dan Carter and didn't fold under the pressure. Cooper had to resort to Google to find anything out about his potential opposite, but Volavola knows what he can expect from the Wallabies star.
"He's the best No.10 in Australia for a reason. It's very exciting to think I'll be playing against him," Volavola told AAP. "He's someone I've looked up to. He possesses skills no one in the world probably has. It was only a couple of months ago I was watching him on TV, and same with Dan Carter."
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