Tahs lining up to sink the boot in against Lions

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There's no shortage of Waratahs lining up to have a crack at the kicking duties in altitude, as the prepares for its Lions clash. 

With flyhalf Bernard Foley ruled out with concussion for a second week, Reece Robinson would seem most likely to step in after booting 12 from 15 attempts in teo outings as Foley's replacement kicker. 

He might have some competition when it comes to long-range kicking this weekend, though, with defence coach Nathan Grey saying a number of guys had discovered a secret kicking talent in the thin air. 

Israel Folau is one of those who could step in, while Foley's flyhalf replacement, Bryce Hegarty is also a contender from beyond the 50m line. 

"It's always interesting when you get ot training in Johannesburg and you have a bunch of guys stick their hand up to kick goals from 60 metres," he said 

Israel is a long-range goal kicking option, Bryce is confident from over 50 and Reecey again at training has been knocking a few over from a good distance. 

"If those opportunities present themseelves, if the opportunities there and Hoops (captain Michael Hooper) has the confidence to ask them to take the long range shots, it's good to have a few options."

Foley's absence is worrying, with a number of players having sat out months due to concussion in the past year, with a head knock an infliction that rarely has a defined recovery period. 

Charlie Ngatai's return is still uncertain. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Chiefs' Charlie Ngatai missed much of last season with concussion, while former Wallabies back Matt Toomua was ruled out for more than a month after a head clash in the opening Bledisloe. 

Grey said Foley's absence was frustrating, but ultimately they had to prioritise his health. 

"There's no end point in terms of the care for the player around the concussion," he said. 

"As coaches it’s something you can’t really control. 

"Is it frustrating having players not available to play? Yes, but you straight away slip your mind into number one - the welfare of the player. 

"Concussion it’s another thing that unfortunately keeps players out. 

"The players’ welfare is the most important thing. If you look at it from that perspetive it’s very simple."

A gritty win against the Stormers in Cape Town turned the Waratahs' season around last year but captain Michael Hooper said they wouldn't be dwelling on that. 

 "Guys want to create their own history," he said. 

"We’ve got to look at ourselves in this year to be able to do that. That one went down to the wire and I'm expecting much more fo the same tomorrow night."

The Waratahs take on the Lions on Sunday at 12:05am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. 

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