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NSW Waratahs coach Michael Foley is considering a rotation policy to ease the burden on his forwards, but No.8 Wycliff Palu is keen to play more minutes.
Foley started the same tight five and blindside flanker for each of his team’s first six Super Rugby games.
But with skipper and flanker Rocky Elsom likely to return from a hamstring injury in the next couple of weeks and lock Sitaleki Timani having been back in the fold for a few weeks following a stint in Japan, Foley will have more scope to rotate his forwards.
“There’s going to be the opportunity to rotate some of those guys and we’ll definitely be considering that on a week-to-week basis,” said Foley ahead of his side’s clash with the Force in Perth on Friday following a bye.
Powerful No.8 Palu, who missed a significant part of last season due to shoulder and knee issues, is one man craving more, rather than less, playing time.
Regarded as a great impact player, Palu has invariably been replaced early in the second half of the four Super games he has played this season.
He said he wanted to play as much as he could and insisted he could last a full 80 minutes.
“Yeah, definitely, that’s still a goal of mine,” Palu said of lasting until the final whistle.
“It’s just a slow process and hopefully this week I’ll get a bit more time and go from there.”
Palu is certainly in a much better physical condition than last year, when he won a battle with the clock to make the World Cup, only to come home early from that tournament with a hamstring strain.
“The body is feeling really good actually, compared to this time last year it’s definitely miles ahead,” Palu said.
“Last year I finished sessions and wake up in the morning and think ‘far out, the body is not feeling too good.’
“I just never thought I would have that feeling of feeling good, but I’ve got that now.”
The Waratahs are just two points off the conference-leading Brumbies, despite losing four of their first six games.
Palu was a little surprised NSW were still right up there despite their patchy start to the campaign.
“In the last couple of years it would have been hard to get back or you would have been way out of it, but we’ve still got a chance,” Palu said.
Utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper didn’t train on Monday after being struck on the hip pointer last week by newly recruited hooker Josh Mann-Rea.
“Josh was severely reprimanded for that, tackling a back at a training session,” Foley joked.
“But Adam will be OK.”