Tahu rested as Waratahs host Highlanders
February 25, 2009
Wycliff Palu (L) and Phil Waugh (R) both reach milestones against the Highlanders © Getty Images
The Waratahs take on the Highlanders on Friday looking to keep up their unbeaten start to the Super 14 season. Coach Chris Hickey has elected to rest dual-code international Timana Tahu, impressive against the Chiefs last weekend, handing the No.12 jersey to Tom Carter.
The only other change to the starting XV comes at hooker, with Adam Freier packing down and Tatafu Polota-Nau starting on the bench. There are significant appearances for two of the Waratahs' back-rowers, with skipper Phil Waugh playing his 100th Super Rugby game and Wycliff Palu playing his 50th game for the franchise.
"At this stage of the season it's pretty important to manage your squad," said Hickey. "We had a short turnaround from the Hurricanes to the Chiefs match, so you have to look at the workload on all the players.
"Adam and Tatafu each offer something slightly different at hooker, as do Tom and Timana in the centres."
The Highlanders have been unlucky so far this season, losing late on to the Brumbies and Hurricanes and having to do without their All Black skipper Jimmy Cowan. Prop Jamie Mackintosh also misses out with a knee injury but there is better news as winger Fetu'u Vainikolo returns after serving a suspension for disorderly behaviour.
"They're only on three competition points, but they could easily be up with us on nine points," said Hickey. "They would have come away from the Brumbies match thinking they should have had a bonus point victory, and then last week they also had the match in their grasp against the Hurricanes.
"You definitely wouldn't expect them to fall short of the 80 minutes this week. They're going to be an extremely tough outfit; very physical, but with a lot of speed and a lot of danger which they have shown from their long range tries."
Waratahs: Sam Norton-Knight, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Lote Tuqiri, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (captain), Ben Mowen, Will Caldwell, Dean Mumm, Al Baxter, Adam Freier, Benn Robinson
Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Dan Palmer, Chris Thomson, Scott Fava, Brett Sheehan, Daniel Halangahu, Timana Tahu.
Highlanders: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Jason Shoemark (captain), Johnny Leota, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Daniel Bowden, Sean Romans, Steven Setephano, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Hayden Triggs, Josh Bekhuis, Clint Newland, David Hall, Chris King.
Replacements: Jason Rutledge, Anthony Perenise, George Naoupu, Tim Boys, Scott Cowan, Mathew Berquist, Kendrick Lynn