Super 14 2009
Palu aiming for Super 14 return
December 8, 2008
Wycliff Palu is looking to return to action in time for the start of next-year's Super 14 © Getty Images
New South Wales Waratahs No.8 Wycliff Palu should be returning to action in time for the opening game of next-year's Super 14 against the Hurricanes in Wellington on February 14.
The rampaging Palu returned home from the Wallabies' recent northern hemisphere tour after damaging his shoulder, but Waratahs medical staff only expect him to miss four to six weeks of training. Palu's return will be good news for the franchise following the long-term injuries suffered by props Matt Dunning, out for the season with a snapped Achilles suffered against the Barbarians last week, and Sekope Kepu, who tore a pectoral in the same match after the Wembley turf gave way underneath the front-row.
Palu will be returning to action in a side primed for a new, expansive game plan. Under new Head Coach Chris Hickey the Waratahs will be embracing a hard running style and an offloading philosophy not recently associated with the forward-powered New South Wales outfit.
Fly-half Daniel Halangahu told the Sydney Morning Herald, "We will be looking to play a bit more and really take a few more risks in the game," Halangahu said. "[Previous Waratah's boss Ewen McKenzie] was a pretty safe sort of coach and we were very forward-dominated, and I think in the coming seasons we will be looking to be fitter and looking to offload a lot more.
"We will be running really hard on the field and looking to have a crack. It is positive rugby and hopefully the fans can enjoy that.
"[Hickey and McKenzie are] two totally different guys and different backgrounds and it is a breath of fresh air for us really, having [had] Ewen around for so long," he said. "He was a good coach but there were also certain perspectives that he had built up over time and getting a fresh perspective on things is good for the boys."
Waratahs physical performance manager Peter McDonald has been charged with fine-tuning the Waratahs' fitness and approach to next season's tournament, looking to maximise the side's effectiveness under the ELVs.
"It is not just a matter of doing more … doing that you increase your injury risk," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It is more looking at how ELVs impacted things like work-rest ratio and how much time you spend running at a particular speed, on your recovery between bouts of work. But you can't conserve energy [in a game]. You want to finish with the last drop in your tank in the last minute to get you over the line, not with a quarter of a tank."
"We want to play bang, bang, bang…quick all the time. What we are hoping to do is blow teams off the park."