Tuesday’s rugby news has more Waratahs optimism, Liam Gill boosting the flailing Reds, Tom Carter returning to pro rugby and a blow for the Blues.
Potgieter extremely optimistic
South African import Jacques Potgieter has said that he is convinced that his Waratahs will win the 2014 Super Rugby title. NSW are in sixth place after a 21-13 loss to the Blues which featured 16 handling errors. But Potgieter cited the style and attitude of coach Michael Cheika as the major impetus for his belief.
Although the Waratahs have a history of not delivering in the crunch, the powerful South African said, “The way the guys are there for each other – maybe it’s not showing yet – but the games [to come] will show, the boys will pull it through.”
Gill ready for return
Reds flanker Liam Gill is back to full fitness and will rejoin the team after five weeks out with a hamstring injury. “It’s been five weeks too long in my eyes and I hate missing out on games and its tough watching,” Gill said, being given the all clear to face the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.
The young flanker also emphasised that the Reds know the tough position they are in but the team is capable of turning the tide of the season. Their task, however, will be made more difficult with the probable loss of Will Genia after the Wallabies halfback rolled his right ankle against the Hurricanes.
Tom Carter lacing up the boots
Former Waratahs centre Tom Carter is on the verge of joining a European club in July after calling quits to his professional career at the end of last year. Despite sharing a swansong Shute Shield premiership with Tim Davidson, Carter decided to return to Sydney Uni during pre-season after realising that he could not walk away from the game completely.
It now appears that Carter will return to the professional game. “You’re a long time retired,” he said. “I think playing in Europe would be a fitting way to go out.”
Mealamu assuming Blues captaincy
Blues captain Luke Braid has been ruled out of Friday’s match against the Reds after suffering a shoulder injury in the win over the Tahs last week. Veteran All-Black Keven Mealamu will likely assume the captaincy, with Brendon O’Connor set to replace Braid at openside flanker. “Kevvy is a big part of our leadership group, he’s our matai, and it’s important he steps into that role,” coach Sir John Kirwan said.
The injury is a massive blow to the Blues, who are holding onto a slight mathematical possibility of making the finals at 4 wins and 5 losses for the season.