Wycliff Palu to miss Brumbies-Waratahs match
March 5, 2013
The Waratahs will miss Wycliff Palu's power from the back of the scrum © Getty Images
Wycliff Palu will miss New South Wales Waratahs' Super Rugby match against the Brumbies, paving the way for the Timani brothers to start together.
Palu twisted his left ankle in the Waratahs' win over Melbourne Rebels on Friday, and he arrived at training on Monday in a moon boot.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said he was waiting for Palu's scan results, but the barnstorming backrower would definitely miss the match at Canberra Stadium on Saturday. "We'll see how severe the turn is, whether there's been a syndesmosis, we'll just see how it pans out," Cheika said on Monday. "But I don't think it's a long, long injury. I think it might be a few weeks max."
Lopeti Timani, who has experience at No.8 and who was the sole specialist backrower among the Waratahs reserves in their first two games, looms as a likely replacement for Palu.
Brother and Test second-rower Sitaleki Timani, meanwhile, has recovered from the corked thigh that forced him out of the win over Melbourne. Cheika said that a fit Sitaleki would return against the Brumbies, and he had good backrow options to cover for Palu's injury.
Openside flanker Pat McCutcheon is available again, though he hasn't played for almost a year after an ankle injury.
AJ Gilbert, who was scheduled to play No.8 for Waratahs A in their rained-out match against Fiji A last week, is another contender for a spot in the match-day 22.
"I'm pretty happy with the (backrow) guys I've got, they've been training really hard," Cheika said "They'll be hungry to get an opportunity. Obviously it's not great that Cliff is not playing, but I'm not too worried about it."
The Waratahs produced another stirring comeback, but this time, against the Rebels, they achieved victory%]
Cheika was also confident Berrick Barnes would be fit after missing the first two games with a knee injury, but he said he would not make a decision until after Tuesday's training session.
The Brumbies are the early-season Australian conference leaders, and Cheika said he was happy to spruik the Waratahs' underdogs tag. "It's going to be up to us to fight against the odds and go down there and try and cause some trouble. I imagine not many people have given us a chance, so as long as we believe in ourselves and give ourselves a bit of a chance you never know what could happen."