The Roar
The Roar


Who to tip between the Waratahs and Hurricanes

The Hurricanes take on the Highlanders looking to maintain their perfect start to the season. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Roar Guru
30th April, 2014

The NSW Waratahs are facing a massive test in their match against the Wellington Hurricanes. The Tahs are riding in 6th position on the ladder and the Hurricanes are leading the New Zealand conference.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has tried to keep the same team together and he has managed to do so, except when injuries have occurred.

Maybe he should have looked at changing the team though. Most opposition sides have worked out the two-playmaker strategy. Too often we see both Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale running across field looking for straight runners.

The problem is that defences are aware of this and play for it.

This tactic worked well earlier on in the season but it is now expected by the opposition. Last week’s loss to the Blues should have been an eye opener for Cheika. Changes need to be made.

Moving Rob Horne at 12 would provide the go forward which would enable Adam Ashley-Cooper and the other outside backs a bit of freedom. A solid defender, Horne would bottle up the ‘Canes inside backs as well as provide momentum forward.

I would move Beale to 10 and Foley to the bench. On the wing, Horne’s lack of pace was seen last week when he was hauled in near the try line.

The forward battle will probably favour the Hurricanes. Ben Franks will be playing his 100th game and the other Hurricane forwards are going to want it to be memorable.


The changes in the forward pack for NSW do little to improve the team. Will Skelton has played well recently and is unlucky to be dropped to the bench. Wycliff Palu had to come back but Skelton should not have been the player to go.

Playing Jacques Potgieter at lock nullifies much of his attacking flair, as he will be required to keep in the tight. Captains have been dropped before so Dave Dennis should have gone. Losing Skelton’s size will adversely impact on the scrum.

Kicking is another area of concern for the Tahs, with both Beale and Foley often failing to find the line or find it when they shouldn’t. Beauden Barrett meanwhile, has been both playing and kicking well and his goal kicking could easily be the difference between the two sides.

Nothing would please me more than to see the Tahs play a free running and passing game to notch a 7-10 point win with a bonus point for four tries. But with Barrett being in fine form for the ‘Canes, they look likely winners by six points. The kiss of death has spoken.