Beale will run the Waratahs backline
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 James Mortimer Getty Images
With Berrick Barnes taking indefinite leave from rugby, outstanding fullback Kurtley Beale will be shifted to first five-eighth to navigate the Waratahs backs.
With Beale one of the in form players in the competition, it presents a different danger to the Blues, despite the fact that the Wallabies incumbent custodian has admitted he prefers roaming out the back.
Further to this is news that two forwards, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Al Baxter, will miss the trip to Auckland.
Polota-Nau is to undergo an arthroscopy on his troublesome knee, while Baxter was ruled out after suffering from concussion.
This means that Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has needed to name players unfamiliar to most outside of NSW, while plucking another player from the Sydney club ranks, with Manly hooker Elvis Taione likely to play on the bench.
John Ulugia will probably replace Polota-Nau, while Jeremy Tilse or Paddy Ryan will cover veteran Baxter up front.
The touring party was scheduled to arrive in Auckland on Tuesday, with their flight not expected to be affected by the ash cloud which has grounded some flights out of Sydney.
Hickey said the player absences were something the team had covered throughout the season.
“We haven't been able to field the same starting XV week-to-week since February so we're quite used to dealing with this type of scenario," said Hickey.
"We've also had to call on players from club Rugby throughout the year, particularly in the last month and a half, and whenever we've had to they've shown they're up to the mark.
"The disruptions aren't ideal, but they provide a challenge and we've seen over the past month that this team stands up pretty well then those challenges are thrown at them."
Chris Alcock (Eastwood), Sosene Anesi (Hunters Hill), Ben Batger (Eastwood), Kurtley Beale (Randwick), Luke Burgess (Sydney University), Tom Carter (Sydney University), Ryan Cross (Eastern Suburbs), Kane Douglas (Southern Districts), Dave Dennis (Sydney University), Bernard Foley (Sydney University), Josh Holmes (Warringah), Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs), Dean Mumm (Sydney University), Pat O'Connor (Eastern Suburbs), Atieli Pakalani (Randwick), Hugh Perrett (Eastwood), Benn Robinson (Eastwood), Paddy Ryan (Sydney University), Elvis Taione (Manly), Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University), Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts), Lachie Turner (Eastwood), John Ulugia (Southern Districts), Phil Waugh [c] (Sydney University).
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