After last weekend’s hiding at the hands of the Brumbies, the NSW Waratahs must get a win tonight when they host the Cheetahs at Allianz Stadium. We’ll have live scores and commentary as the action unfolds from 7.30pm AEDT.
The Waratahs start a good stretch of matches at home this week, and need to get off on the right foot after being given a rugby lesson by the Brumbies last week.
Coming into town are the Cheetahs, who are high on confidence after a strong win against the Highlanders in Invercargill.
That isn’t an easy task, but their enthusiasm and strong running saw them win quite comfortably.
The Cheetahs jumped all over mistakes by the Highlanders and used that momentum to build a big first half lead that never looked like being run down.
One area the Waratahs haven’t been up to scratch this year, among many, is their start to the match. Three times out of three this year, the Waratahs have found themselves down at half time.
The Cheetahs began fierce early on against the Highlanders, and even in losing to the Chiefs started with sprightly enthusiasm.
If they kick off in similiar fashion tonight, it could set the early stages of this clash as a flash point for whether the Waratahs can get their season on track.
Sarel Pretorius will relish the first opportunity to play the Waratahs after spending a year with them last year that turned out to be as rocky as it was successful.
Full of confidence and aggression, this season back with the Cheetahs has started out much better and he’ll be looking to show what they are now missing out on.
Michael Cheika is trying to shake up his underperforming squad and has made a number of changes for the team to play this week.
The headline is Drew Mitchell being dropped from the match-day 22 all together. The changes are all over the side and on the bench and it will be interesting to see which new combinations work.
Lachie Turner and Peter Betham are the starting wingers, Israel Folau will revert back to starting full back and Ben Volavola will move back to the bench.
Berrick Barnes will fun on at inside-centre to replace Tom Carter who has been dropped from the whole team and Rob Horne comes onto the bench as a back replacement.
Tatafu Polota-Nau and Wycliffe Palu aren’t going to recover from injury in time, and they will be replaced by John Ulugia and Pat McCutcheon.
Dave Dennis slides over to number six, bumping Mitchell Chapman to the bench. Paddy Ryan gets a start at tight-head prop as well.
Realistically it’s easier not to read this team sheet through the prism of last week’s side. It is a revamped lineup and that is what Cheika is hoping will also take place on the field.
Cheika has rebooted the personnel in the hope the Waratahs are able to reboot their season against the Cheetahs this Friday.
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