Wallaby jersey has Latham primed
April 11, 2000
Queensland fullback Chris Latham has a chance to put further pressure on Matt Burke's Wallaby position with a likely match up against one of rugby's top custodians on Friday night.
Latham returns from a one-week injury lay off when the Reds face Super 12 form side the Stormers at Ballymore. The South Africans will be bolstered by the expected appearance of Springbok fullback Percy Montgomery as they attempt to finish their Australasian trip with a hat-trick of victories.
Montgomery's availability after two weeks out with an ankle injury strengthens a Stormers team that embarrassed Auckland 39-18 in the wet last weekend following a win the previous week over Waikato. The Stormers have moved up to fifth on the Super 12 ladder and a win on Friday night would enhance their semi-final prospects and just about write off Queensland's chances.
Latham missed the win over the Northern Bulls last weekend due to a hamstring injury but returns to push his case for national selection. The tall attacking fullback will take over from Nathan Williams, who has been singled out by Reds coach John Connolly as one of Queensland's big improvers this season.
"I am really pleased with Nathan because he is getting involved and doing a lot of things right," Connolly said.
Williams will return to the wing against the Stormers, whose wing pair Breyton Paulse and Pieter Rossouw starred against the Stormers. The recent performances by the Stormers have also cemented the position of coach Alan Solomons, who apparently does not enjoy the complete confidence of the Capetown-based team's administration.
Friday night's match will be the 50th Queensland appearance of former Wallaby five-eighth Elton Flatley, who has hit top form in the Reds' recent run of victories.