Rona eager to push for centre spot

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Curtis Rona is eager to force his way into the centres for the Waratahs, fresh off a promising start to his career in sky blue against the Stormers.

Rona played the majority of his rugby for the Force at outside centre but was picked on the wing in the Waratahs' season opener, with Lalakai Foketi the preferred option outside playmakers Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale at 13.

Rona's debut Test cap came on the wing but he is striving to eventually make the outside centre jersey his own.

"I enjoyed (playing on the wing) but it was an interesting one - there wasn't a great deal of opportunities," Rona said.

"It is easier to play on the wing but I want to challenge myself to play 13.

"That's what I'm striving to do but I pride myself on being able to adapt to any role."

While on the topic of backs, Rona expects the Sharks to present a similar challenge to what the Stormers posed on Saturday night.

A big, physical pack up front backed by outside backs that have a sharp turn of foot.

Defence will be key, according to Rona.

"A lot of South African teams have quick outside backs and we are going to have to do a good job on them," Rona said.

"We know if we give them space they will take it and the Sharks backline is world class.

"If you don’t make your tackles, they’re going to put big scores on you.

The Waratahs have arrived in Durban, coincidentally, at the same time as the Australian cricket team, as they prepare to face South Africa in a four Test series of their own.

Ned Hanigan and a handful of other Tahs paid Steve Smith's side a visit at Kingsmead and they'll be on hand come the first ball of the Test on Thursday night (AEDT).

While Hanigan was a keen viewer, he wasn't particularly keen on padding up and facing the likes of Mitch Starc in the nets when asked whether he'd prefer to face the Australian quick or the All Blacks.

"I wouldn't like (Starc) putting them up near my head and then facing the All Blacks is something I always look forward to," Hanigan said.

"Probably going for the All Blacks there, I think."

The Waratahs take on the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning, kicking off at 12:05am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.