To quote Big Kev, I’m Excited! No longer shall we suffer Michael Clarke’s team dominating the South Englican’s in dead 50 over rubbers, tonight marks the Waratah’s first match of the year, and in my mind the official opening of the Rugby season!
The NSW Waratahs host the Fijian Warriors at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight at 7:40pm. If you can’t make it to the match in person (tickets are $10 here), then join us for live text based coverage and wanging on from around 7:30pm Sydney time. Score updates will also be posted on twitter if you’d like to follow there.
While this is the first match for the Waratahs this year, the team has a very settled feel about it with few changes from last years squad. Lachie Turner at 13 will be one to keep an eye on, while big Cliffy’s return at 8 is something all Waratah and Wallaby fans have been holding out for.
The Fijians had a solid hitout last week, going down to the Melbourne Rebels 42-27. They’ll be better for the run, and With their Rugby World Cup squad set to be finalised after tonights’ match it’s doubtful anything will be left on the park. Known for their flamboyant and attacking rugby, the set piece should be an area of focus against the Waratahs highly capped forwards.
This should encourage a closer encounter than has been witnessed at the last two trial encounters between these sides; the 2009 game saw the ‘Tahs blitz Fiji 60 points to zip in Newcastle, while the 2010 edition resulted in an 83-15 rinding in Orange.
|Fiji Warriors (Squad)||Waratahs|
|Waisea Naulago||1||Sekope Kepu|
|Viliame Veikoso||2||Tatafu Polota-Nau|
|Iosefo Bele||3||Al Baxter|
|Ben Makutu||4||Kane Douglas|
|Noa Bolatagici||5||Dean Mumm|
|Setefano Somoca||6||Ben Mowen|
|Rupeni Nasiga||7||Phil Waugh [c]|
|Api Ratuniyarawa||8||Wycliff Palu|
|Tevita Cavubati||9||Luke Burgess|
|Samuela Bola||10||Berrick Barnes|
|Aca Ratuva||11||Drew Mitchell|
|Jimilai Naikadawa||12||Tom Carter|
|Kelepi Ketedromo||13||Lachie Turner|
|Anare Koliavu||14||Afa Pakalani|
|Joeli Kotobalavu||15||Kurtley Beale|
|Nemia Kenatale||16||Scott Sio|
|Seveci Taka||17||John Ulugia|
|Waisale Vatuvoka||18||Greg Peterson|
|Taniela Rawaqa||19||Dave Dennis|
|Paula Karatu||20||Josh Holmes|
|Jo Ravulovulo||21||Sosene Anesi|
|Ravai Fatiaki||22||Ryan Cross|
|Isoa Neivua||23||Ben Seymour|
|Apisalome Waqatabu||24||Sitaleki Timani|
|Isoa Donaldson||25||Paddy Ryan|
|Adriu Delai||26||Chris Alcock|
|Jonetani Ralulu||27||Lopeti Timani|
|Manoa Satala||28||Tom Kingston|
Did I mention I was excited? So excited in fact that when I saw the 2011 season promotional photos on the Waratahs website I just had to get involved. Unfortunately the budget at G&GR couldn’t stretch to hire a make-up artist to paint mud on my face so I had to improvise.