Green & Gold Rugby - Preview: Waratahs v Blues round 7, 2015
NSW Waratahs

Preview: Waratahs v Blues

Preview: Waratahs v Blues

Six days after a dramatic return to form against the Brumbies, the Waratahs will be champing at the bit to run out onto Allianz Stadium in front of another excited Waratahs crowd on Saturday night. Into town step the Auckland Blues who have somehow managed to not be fresh after the bye after halfback Bryn Hall was injured playing club rugby.

The Form

What’s there to say about the Blues? They’re pretty much the same as usual. A great looking side on paper with a scintillating backline that can tear any side to ribbons. Unfortunately, when it plays out on the field, that blistering attack doesn’t outweigh the lack of both execution and defence. Prior to the bye they took it to the Hurricanes but ultimately ended up one try short of their opposition. They’re zero and five and running dead last.

The Waratahs produced easily their best performance of the season in week 6 against the Brumbies. The accuracy was finally there and aggressive defence and physicality was combined with some good execution to secure a solid win. They’re sitting mid table and will be wary of staying in touch with the leaders.

Tolu Latu finished an excellent team try against the Brumbies.

Tolu Latu finished an excellent team try against the Brumbies.

 

Key Players

Two players shone above the others against the Brumbies, Sekope Kepu and Israel Folau. The Waratahs scrum has shown far more strength in 2015 than it did last year and a big part of that is down to Kepu’s form. His set piece work is excellent and he’s been a dynamo around the field. His size and athleticism make him a real threat in open play and he’s keen to get involved. He’ll be looking for more space to run on Saturday night.

KMP-WAR-BRU-48319

Sekope Kepu made a memorable bust up the middle of the park against the Brubmies.

Israel Folau hadn’t scored a Super Rugby try since Week 18 of the 2014 season but finally he found the tryline last Sunday. A superb all around game meant he was a constant threat and this culminated late in the game where he began a three phase, length of the field move that resulted in a try to Tolu Latu. You feel like he won’t need to wait nearly so long for his next try.

Charlie Faumuina has confirmed that he’s staying in New Zealand after the Rugby World Cup and is backing himself to be one of the first choice tight head props for the All Blacks. He needs to lead the Blues’ forward pack to counteract what is certain to be a physical display from the Waratahs.

Charles Piutau has oscillated throughout the outside backs and played 13 last start. This week he finds himself back at fullback and opposite Folau. He will need to ignite the Blues backline if they’re to threaten the Waratahs.

Prediction

It’s hard to imagine the Waratahs won’t be pumped up from their good outing against the Brumbies and be keen for another dose. With Israel Folau continually proving a threat out wide, the Waratahs will be looking to attack the Blues at every opportunity. If they pull it together it’s hard to imagine the Blues getting close. It’s up to the forward pack to set the platform and if they can achieve dominance the Waratahs should be too good.

Waratahs by 15

Teams

Waratahs v Blues

Benn Robinson1Tony Woodcock
Tolu Latu2James Parsons
Sekope Kepu3Charlie Faumuina
Will Skelton4Hayden Triggs
David Dennis (C)5Patrick Tuipulotu
Jacques Potgieter6Steven Luatua
Michael Hooper (VC)7Brendon O’Connor
Wycliff Palu8Jerome Kaino
Nick Phipps9Jimmy Cowan
Bernard Foley10Dan Bowden
Rob Horne11Melani Nanai
Kurtley Beale12Francis Saili
Matt Carraro13George Moala
Taqele Naiyaravoro14Frank Halai
Israel Folau (VC)15Charles Piutau
Reserves
Replacements:
Hugh Roach16Keven Mealamu
Jeremy Tilse17Ofa Tu’ungafasi/Sam Prattley
Paddy Ryan18Angus Ta’avao
Sam Lousi19Culum Retallick
Mitchell Chapman20Luke Braid
Stephen Hoiles21Jamison Gibson-Park
Brendan McKibbin22Simon Hickey
Peter Betham/Jono Lance23Pita Ahki
Location: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kickoff:Sat 28 Mar 19:40
Referee:Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 2:Damien Mitchelmore
TMO :Peter Marshall
  • Masher

    I’d go along with that prediction. Not sure what the issues are with the Blues but they certainly don’t play like a team that’s enjoying their rugby. Pressure’s mounting for JK’s head and I think he should go before he’s pushed. Just don’t know if a new coach will do any better and maybe it’s the disjointed setup and the lack of cohesion between all the areas that make up the team that’s the main reason

  • Nick

    We dropped the game against the Blues last year so would be good to send them packing this year.

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