Waratahs

Waratahs v Reds preview

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Aussie Stadium, Sydney, 19.40 (9.40 GMT)

No two ways about it, these two sides have been absolutely shocking this year.

A spate of injuries on both sides have revealed an alarming lack of depth. The Reds have cruelly fielded over-awed teenagers who simply have not been ready for Super rugby.

The Waratahs meanwhile have frustratingly retreated into their shells as the weeks have gone by, playing rugby which just does not suit their strengths.

When they allowed themselves some depth and freedom against the Crusaders, they demonstrated their ability, but last week against the Brumbies they were simply out-classed, and looked tired and clumsy.

The Reds, however, simply gave up in their collapse at the hands of the Sharks.

Both Eddie Jones and Ewen McKenzie can only be concerned at a season so far that has provided no glimmer of hope in terms of the way forward.

“This is a big game for us and a big game for them. It will be trench warfare at times but both teams will be having a crack,” said McKenzie.

But why does he want to play a tight game? He does not have the forwards to do it? McKenzie’s approach has been mystifying at times.

Eddie Jones meanwhile ranted this week about his side’s lowly performance this year.

We’re the worst team in the competition, we deserve to be where we are and we’re not going to get better until we change our attitude,” he said.

Jones believes his team’s woes are down to “attitudinal issues”.

“They’re long-term issues,” he said. “This is a team that’s been used to losing, and sure we’ll get up for Waratahs, but big deal, it’s about having a real desire to want to get better.”

No doubt some Eddie Jones’ venom, fuelled by the passion of the likes of John Roe and David Croft will explode onto Saturday’s derby.

The match is academic but for some wounded Australian pride. But, nevertheless, don’t bank on an exciting fixture. Two side who have lost their way are set to take out all their frustration on their countrymen.

Prediction: Both sides won their first game this year, and have won nothing since. At least one of them are going to win another one, or maybe not. In fact, both sides have been equally bad, and we have decided to predict a draw.

Teams:

Reds: 15 Clinton Schifcofske, 14 Andrew Walker, 13 Ben Tune, 12 Andrew Brown, 11 Peter Hynes, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Nic Berry, 8 John Roe (c), 7 David Croft, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 James Horwill, 4 Hugh McMeniman, 3 David Te Moana, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Tama Tuirirangi
Replacements: 16 Sean Hardman, 17 Herman Hunt, 18 Ed O’Donoghue, 19 Tom McVerry, 20 Will Genia, 21 Lloyd Johansson, 22 Quade Cooper

Waratahs: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Morgan Turinui (v-c), 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 David Lyons, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier (c), 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kurtley Beale, 22 Sam Harris.

Additional players: 23 Tim Davidson, 24 Daniel Halangahu.

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Brett Bowden (Australia), George Ayoub (Australia)
Television match official: Bradley Wahl (Australia)
Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia)

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