NSW Waratahs coach Michael Foley will consider changes to his pack for Saturday’s crucial Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies, but admits injuries have stalled plans to rotate his players.
Foley’s options during a tough period containing successive six-day turnarounds have been reduced by eight injuries and the suspension of Test centre Rob Horne.
“A bit limited by the fact there’s so many guys unavailable,” Foley told reporters on Tuesday.
“But at the same time, we probably have a little bit of flexibility around the forwards and we will be looking at that in the next 24 hours.”
Foley said flanker and former Brumby Rocky Elsom, who has come off the bench for his first two games following a hamstring issue, would probably not start on Saturday.
Waratahs utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper is anticipating a rowdy reception in his first match against the franchise he served for eight years.
“I do expect a bit of hostility from the crowd. You’d expect nothing less from the Canberra crowd … it will be fun,” Ashley-Cooper told reporters on Tuesday.
He emphasised how much the Brumbies looked forward to their clashes with the Waratahs.
“They will be down there talking about it already, just really energising each other,” Ashley-Cooper said.
He felt a big crowd tipped for Saturday’s game would provide an electric atmosphere that would inspire both teams.
Ashley-Cooper felt with a bit of tweaking, NSW could finally produce the big performance that has eluded them in an erratic 4-5 campaign.
“If we get that minor detail right, which we’re working hard to address this week, I think the team will click and we’ll get the performance that we’ve been striving for all year,” Ashley-Cooper said.
The Wallabies’ stalwart said NSW would have their work cut out against an Australian conference-leading Brumbies team playing well.
He said NSW would focus this week on the breakdown as the Brumbies were very efficient in that area.
“You only have to watch their games to see how they have won and they deserve their wins. They are playing with a lot of skill,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“They are playing with a lot of attacking ball and that’s come from the forwards doing a lot of hard work in presenting that ball.”