Waratahs make most of Wallabies chances
The battling NSW Waratahs contribute more than half the Wallabies starting side for Saturday’s final Test against Wales in Sydney, and prop Sekope Kepu says he and his clubmates have thrived on a fresh start.
The Waratahs still have two matches to play this Super Rugby season, but already it’ll go down as one of the worst in their history.
But despite their failings as a team, key individuals have stepped up to impress for Australia in the June Test window, and the Wallabies Waratahs are out for a big one in front of home fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Five-eighth Berrick Barnes has made the biggest turnaround in form, and it’s no small achievement that NSW have provided the entire starting front-row for all three Tests against Wales, with Australia already up 2-0 in the series.
Waratahs Barnes, Kepu, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Sitaleki Timani and Wycliff Palu are all in the Wallabies starting side for Sydney, with Dave Dennis also on the bench.
Tight-head Kepu has played every match for club and country this year, except the Wallabies loss to Scotland and admits the Test scene has been a God-send for the wounded Waratahs.
NSW played some of their best rugby for the year in vibrant day games at Allianz against the Crusaders and Sharks and Kepu is hoping for a similar atmosphere.
“To be honest after last week, I was very excited about coming back and finishing off the series here. A sold out crowd should be pretty special,” he said.
“Our (Waratahs) season hasn’t gone too well but we’ll be looking to put it all out on the park.
“I think the change of environment freshened up some of the guys, to see some different faces.”
Lock Timani has lost his only two Test matches to minnow nations, but the Wallabies giant is desperate to make a winning start to his career against Wales.
Timani was part of the Wallabies teams that suffered embarrassing defeats to Samoa and Scotland over the past two years, but coach Robbie Deans has shown his faith in the 25-year-old by promoting him to the starting side ahead of Rob Simmons.
Kepu said 203cm, 120kg Timani is primed to take his opportunity.
“He’s obviously got a presence that he wants to bring into the team,” he said.
“I love him behind me in the scrums as well. He’s got a big engine.”© AAP 2013
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