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NSW Waratahs new recruits Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps, along with defensive coach Nathan Grey, will take on their old club the Melbourne Rebels in their first trial match for 2014.
The NSW Waratahs will truck it down south to border town Albury, where they’ll take on the Rebels in an historic clash at the Albury Sports Ground on Saturday February 1, 2014.
Beale spent five seasons with NSW before joining the Rebels. He returns to the Waratahs after two years and 14 caps with Melbourne and couldn’t imagine a better game to make his return from injury.
“I’ve tentatively pencilled in the Rebels as my first game back from shoulder surgery and it’s shaping as good test for me both mentally and physically.”
NSW-born Nick Phipps spent three seasons in Victoria with the franchise before returning to guide the Waratahs.
“Coming up against your old team mates isn’t easy but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Gosford-born Nathan Grey played 94 games for the Waratahs before becoming a foundation member of the Rebels’ coaching staff.
Grey has an inside knowledge of the Rebels’ roster but says, “It’s just a trial and for the first time in my coaching career, all I’ll be worried about is NSW.”
NSW coach Michael Cheika hasn’t forgotten the last time they played in round 15 in 2013. It was the Waratahs’ first ever loss to the Rebels and with it went the Weary Dunlop Shield for the first time.
“The developing rivalry between the two sides isn’t a bad thing and even though it’s out first trial, it’s also a great opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the starting team.”
The Waratahs are set to make the road trip a convoy to Albury to meet their interstate rivals in the first trial match of the season at the Albury Sports Ground on Saturday 1 February 2014.
The following week, they are in home action against the Blues, featuring new signing and league-convert Benji Marshall, at Allianz Stadium on Friday February 7 (entry to which is free for 2014 members).
They open their 2014 Super Rugby campaign at the same venue two weeks later with a big local derby against rivals the Western Force in the first of three family-friendly Sunday afternoon kick offs.
To see the full 2014 Super Rugby draw CLICK HERE
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!