Newsome leads contenders to replace Folau

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs are mulling over replacements for Israel Folau, with a handful of options on the table, forwards coach Simon Cron says.

Cron confirmed Israel Folau would be out for four weeks, putting him on track to return against the Blues on May 5, the beginning of a block of trans-Tasman matches for the Waratahs.

“They've had a scan and they believe it's more muscular than tendon based and it's going to be four weeks at this stage is what they're saying, pretty accurate assumption post-game,” he said.

Alex Newsome would seemingly be first in line, impressing off the bench against the Brumbies, with Cam Clark a chance  to slot into the 23, Cron said.

"Alex Newsome came on and played for most of that game, 75 minutes, played really well so he's a genuine option," he said.

"You've got Cam Clark coming back from injury, Bryce Hegarty playing 15, he's been going well. So there's a few options for us in those wide channels."

Taqele Naiyaravoro’s form is heartening for the Waratahs as well, with the big man scoring consecutive doubles and easily bouncing off Henry Speight in last weekend’s clash.

“He gives us something different, he gives us line bend, he gives us gain line quite well,” he said.

“Off set piece, he's a big bit of meat and when he gets his timing right he's hard in motion to stop.

“The key thing is there's still work ons in his game, we've got things in his game that he's constantly working on so that he can be the best he can be and he knows those areas of work on but he's a weapon.

“Speight didn't tackle him too well in that last one down the sideline.”

Halfback Nick Phipps’ frustrating run with a calf injury will also continue another week, the nine ruled out of making the trip to Tokyo.

The Waratahs’ sloppy handling cost them opportunities in Canberra and Cron said that would be a focus going into the Sunwolves match, with a simple fix.

“Our expectation around that is we fix it now, we get our role clarity right - carrying the ball into contact, you shouldn't drop it,” he said.

“So, we've got to fix that.”

NSW take on the Sunwolves this Saturday afternoon, with hooker Damien Fitzpatrick wary of the Japanese outfit, who have shown vast improvements this season, despite failing to win a game.

Fitzpatrick said the influence of former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph and assistant Tony Brown was showing through in Tokyo.

“They're playing very, very similar to the Highlanders of two or three years ago,” he said.

“Tony Brown's got them playing incredibly structured (rugby).

“They look for space a lot, they're a very, very fast team, so we're going to have to make sure we've got our defensive structures well in place because on the turnover ball they're very good at spreading it wide and they've also got a pretty diligent set piece as well.

“At scrum and line out time, they also get the job done, they're very structured there, but when the turnover ball's on they know exactly where they want to play so we've got to be on our game.”

The Waratahs take on the Sunwolves on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 2:15pm local, 3:15pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.