Folau to delay his travel to South Africa
waratahs.com.au 22 Mar 2014 Getty Images
NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has stuck to his winning formula in naming his 27-man squad for the team’s two-match tour of South Africa, selecting yesterday's winning gameday squad plus Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University), Easts’ duo Jonno Lance and Tala Gray, and Norths speedster Cam Crawford to take on the Sharks and Stormers.
Utility back Lance and loose forward Pat McCutcheon have both been close to making an appearance in 2014. They’ve been named in the 25-man squad for the last two weeks, only to be omitted from the squad in the lead up to kick off.
Gray was set to make a play in the season opener before a rib injury curtailed his chances, while outside back Cam Crawford has now fully recovered from shoulder surgery.
Crawford, a 100kg winger who crossed for eight tries in seven games to notch the highest tries to games ratio in the 2013 Super Rugby season, is eager to pick up where he left off last season.
Big and powerful, backrower Gray was signed by Cheika from French Top 14 side Biarritz to provide depth in the backrow and will get his chance in the republic.
Preparing for the battle of the breakdown against their South African rivals, the coach has included seven backrowers in the 15-strong forward contingent, with skipper Dave Dennis and Jacques Potgieter also set to cover the lock position.
In the backs, Lance will provide cover for Bernard Foley at flyhalf and Israel Folau at fullback, while Crawford will cover for the outside backs.
The Tahs fly to South Africa tomorrow, where they’ll take on the Sharks at Growthpoint Park in Durban on Sunday March 30 (2am AEST), before travelling to Cape Town’s Newlands to face the Stormers (Sunday, April 6 3.10am AEST). They then return to Australia via Perth, where they meet the Western Force at NIB Stadium on Saturday April 12 (5.40pm AEST), before finally returning home to host the Bulls in a big round 10 Easter Saturday clash at Allianz Stadium (April 19, 7.40pm).
NSW Waratahs squad for South Africa
1. Sekope Kepu (Randwick)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (Parramatta)
3. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University)
4. Will Skelton (Sydney University)
5. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts)
6. Jacques Potgieter (Eastern Suburbs)
7. Michael Hooper (Manly)
8. Dave Dennis (captain, Sydney University)
9. Nick Phipps (Sydney University)
10. Bernard Foley (Sydney University)
11. Peter Betham (Sydney University)
12. Kurtley Beale (Randwick)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs)
14. Alofa Alofa (West Harbour)
15. Israel Folau (Sydney University)
16. Tolu Latu (Sydney University)
17. Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University)
18. Benn Robinson (Eastwood)
19. Wycliff Palu (Manly)
20. Stephen Hoiles (Randwick)
21. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs)
22. Rob Horne (Southern Districts)
23. Matt Carraro (Randwick)
24. Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University)
25. Tala Gray (Eastern Suburbs)
26. Jonno Lance (Eastern Suburbs)
27. Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs)
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