Planet Rugby

Preview: Waratahs v Force

29th March 2013 11:13

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The Waratahs will be out to record back-to-back wins, while the Force are hoping to avoid back-to-back losses when the two teams clash in Sydney on Sunday.

The last time the Sydneysiders won two consecutive games was 11 months ago. But after beating the Blues after the final hooter last week, the home side will be favourites to add four or five more points to their name.

They will, however, be wary of the unpredictable Force outfit. The men from the west lost at home to the Cheetahs last week, but upset the Reds in Brisbane the weekend before.

With two wins and three losses, the 'Tahs are camped in 11th place and can't afford to slip on a potential banana skin if they wish to be Australian conference contenders.

Under a new coach, the Waratahs have failed to live up to expectations, but their last-gasp win over the Blues could be the spark they needed.

Of course, the Force won't be lacking in motivation for this one either as former Waratahs coach Michael Foley prepares to take on his former team.

He'll have to do so without star hooker Nathan Charles though, who's been ruled out for the season. But former Waratahs back Sam Norton-knight is set to make his debut, while we should be in for a big tussle up front with big Hugh McMeniman up against Wallabies locks Kane Douglas and Sitaleki Timani.

The Force also know how to win in Sydney, having pipped the Waratahs in their own back yard last year (21-20).

Prediction: You never know with these Aussie derbies, but the Waratahs look the better bet. 'Tahs by seven!

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Tom Kingston.

Western Force: tbc

Date: Sunday, March 31
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 16:05 (05.05 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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