Waratahs v Bulls preview




Aussie Stadium, Sydney, 19.40 (08.40 GMT)

The Sydney match is shaping up to be this weekend’s most bruising encounter.

The Bulls always pride themselves upon their grunt up front, with Victor Matfield calling the shots in a strong, big, and aggressive pack.

But Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie has decided to fight fire with fire, and has named one of the biggest loose trios seen in Australian top-flight rugby: Rocky Elsom, David Lyons and Wycliff Palu.

The Waratahs have shown none of their customary attacking flair so far this year, and like much of Australian rugby, have sunk deeper and deeper into their shells.

One gets the impression that that is not the way to counter the Bulls. The Force demonstrated that if you persist in running the Bulls pack of their feet, and retain possession, one can easily turn the tables on the Bulls who like to dictate the match completely to their style of play.

This rough stuff is just not in the Australian rugby player’s blood, and nor does it need to be. They have won more World Cups than anybody playing it their way, so this latest trend in their rugby is touch mystifying.

If the likes of Kurtley Beale and Morgan Turinui are able to penetrate the Bulls defence, they should bring it home, if not, they won’t be able to outmuscle the brutal Bulls.

Prediction: The Waratahs seem a bit short of ideas. The Bulls will take it by less than five points.


Waratahs: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Morgan Turinui, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Daniel Halangahu, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Lyons, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Al Manning, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Sam Norton-Knight, 22 Sam Harris

Bulls: 15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Danie Thiart, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Ruan Vermeulen, 18 Anton Leonard, 19 Derick Ku’n, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Morn’ Steyn, 22 Marius Delport

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Julian Pritchard (Australia)
Television match official: Geoff Acton (Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia), Dennis Immelman (South Africa)

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