Planet Rugby

Preview: Waratahs v Reds

27th February 2014 11:00

Share:

With stage one of their difficult start complete, the Reds travel to Sydney looking for back-to-back wins on the road.

Victory over last season's finalists, the Brumbies, was a feather in the cap for new Reds boss Richard Graham in his first official game in charge.

Perhaps the best compliment to Graham is that the Reds looked the same as ever, tenacious at the breakdown and with pace to burn in the back-three.

Aidan Toua's thrilling try from full-back is definitely worth another look, while Lachie Turner got his time in Queensland off to the perfect start with a try and some try-saving defence.

But the key to the Reds, as it has been for some years, was the half-back combination of Will Genia and Quade Cooper.

It should be expected of a 25-year-old number ten to mature but Cooper has been such a wildcard playmaker throughout his career that his improved composure and control is obvious. His kicking from hand against the Brumbies was impressive as he and Genia closed out a ten-point win.

Having therefore overcome the breakdown threat of Ben Mowen and David Pocock, the Reds should feel confident taking on Michael Hooper.

The Waratahs' enjoyed some seriously porous defence from the Force in their season opener last Sunday, scoring six tries including a hat-trick for Israel Folau.

Folau is likely to score at the best of times but if you leave motorway lanes worth of space then the tri-code convert will always capitalise.

Expectations are high is Sydney following the return of Kurtley Beale as Michael Chieka looks to build on a promising first season in 2013, but the true battle comes up front.

Chieka needs the likes of Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Hooper and Wycliff Palu to give more if the Waratahs are to content with the bruising Brumbies and Reds' packs.

Seeing Stephen Hoiles back in Super Rugby after years out through injury is welcome, while Jacques Potgeiter's selection in the second row will be worth keeping an eye on.

The Waratahs will be without captain Dave Dennis, with Hooper taking the armband, while the Reds have lost goalkicking inside centre Mike Harris with Anthony Fainga'a coming in at 12 to replace him.

The latter change might see the Reds run the ball a bit more, having made the fewest metres so far in the competition with 214.

Folau - who made four clean breaks last weekend - is also unlikely to run riot considering the Reds boast the best tackle success rate in the tournament with 92.2 percent.

Prediction: It's a pretty unforgiving start to the season but the Reds have enough quality and the defence to fend off the Waratahs here.

They have had the extra day's rest, essential after that defensive rearguard in Canberra, and appear well set to move top of the Australian Conference. Reds by three.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements (from): 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Jonno Lance.

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Date: Saturday, 1 March
Venue: ANZ Stadium in Sydney
Kick-off: 19:40 local time (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058