Tahs count casualties from bruising derby

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They clinched a sixth-straight derby win but the NSW Waratahs will head back to Sydney with a growing casualty ward from a bruising clash with the Reds.

Waratahs outside back Rob Horne is the most pressing concern, with a suspected broken hand ending his day early.

Horne has been solid for the Waratahs this season, stepping into the outside centre role vacated by veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper.

His absence, which could be a lengthy one, could give rise to a backline reshuffle, with flyhalf Bernard Foley having returned successfully on Sunday.

With Foley back at 10, there is potential for Israel Folau to switch to outside centre, with Kurtley Beale at fullback and youngster David Horwitz returning to 12.

The injury news isn’t much better for the Waratahs forwards, with Tolu Latu suffering a hamstring injury at Suncorp Stadium.

Latu was elevated to the starting side in place of the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau (hand) and any potential layoff for the hooker will test their already depleted front row ranks.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said his side was after a more complete performance, after hanging on against the Reds.

“We’re still searching for that complete performance, playing the style of rugby we want to play and getting everything we need to get right with our game 100 per cent right,” he said.

The match was a return to derbies of old, with tensions high and scores tight for the full game, a mood that captain Michael Hooper relished.

“It’s always going to be a bitter, hard rivalry. That’s the way you want to play these derbies,” he said.

“We knew the Reds would be up for that, they had a lot to play for, as did we.

“It wasn’t ideal conditions - muggy, hot and there was a lot of open play,.

“It was a hard fought game and something we have to take a lot from.”

The win keeps them in touch with the Rebels in second spot on the Australian conference, with the two sides to clash next week.

The Rebels have their own injury headaches with key backline trio Tamati Ellison (hamstring), Tom English (knee) and Jonah Placid (shoulder) all in doubt for the pivotal match up.