Bookies don’t rate Waratahs for Super14 title


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The Waratahs made the Super 14 final last year and have retained a number of players but with a change of coach and few key departures the bookies don’t rate the ‘Tahs very highly for the 2009 title.

Waratahs captain Phil Waugh has gone some way to agreeing with the bookies who have the Waratahs in eighth place to win the title by admitting that even he is unsure exactly how the Sydney-siders will fare without a host of departed senior players.

“I guess we are seen as a bit of an unknown,” Waugh said.

Even though the Waratahs lost the 2008 final by eight points (20-12) they are rated AUD $11 outsiders to progress to a first Super Rugby title by TAB Sportsbet, trailing behind the Crusaders ($4), the Hurricanes and Stormers (both $6), the Blues ($8) and the Bulls ($10).

With other betting agencies they rank as low as eighth favourite with other agencies but all of them see the Waratahs as the best Australian side.

Losing key and experienced players such as Wallaby forwards Dan Vickerman, Rocky Elsom and David Lyons overseas, and Matt Dunning to injury, has clearly be seen as a huge blow to NSW’s potency – particularly at line out time.

“Losing all that experience, I guess we are a bit of an unknown how we’ll perform,” Waugh told the Daily Telegraph.

“It’s all shaping up okay, but until we get out there it is hard to know where we stand in terms of the other teams.

“With the experience in the back line, all the guys are a year older and more confident, blokes like Kurtley (Beale), Luke Burgess, Tommy Carter, Lachie Turner.

“But in the forward pack, well, that’s probably the unknown quantity at the moment – how we are going to face up against the better packs. That’s yet to be seen.”

The Tahs’ Wallabies are expected to be back for Friday’s trial against Fiji in Newcastle.

As expected, Queensland lock Adam Byrnes was cited by the ARU yesterday for alleged foul play in a trial against NSW that left Tahs lock Chris Thomson with concussion.



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