Aussie wrap (Mon)
31 Mar 2008
Keo.co.za brings you the top stories from Australia.
McKenzie keeps the faith
Waratahs head coach Ewan McKenzie says it’s impossible to predict the top four placing in the Super 14 this year.
McKenzie was responding to questions about their match against the Blues this weekend, and said the Auckland franchise’s form in recent weeks suggested that they were beatable.
He pointed to some results thus far to illustrate his point about how tight the tournament has been to date. “The Force beat the Blues, the Blues beat the Stormers, and the Stormers beat the Force – all in three weeks. It’s pretty tight there in the middle,” McKenzie told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“What it confirms is that every week is a contest in its own right. I don’t know that the form line is as strong an indicator of what is going to happen on the weekend ahead. But if you do look at the form line, you can say the Blues have had two last-minute wins and two losses. That is their form coming in.”
Lyons set for Super Rugby return
Wallaby loose forward David Lyons could return for the Waratahs in their match against the Blues on Saturday.
Lyons broke and dislocated his left ankle in the World Cup pool match against Canada, but played the final 30 minutes for Sydney University on Saturday.
“I felt really good,” Lyons said. “I was pretty happy considering it had been so long since I had played. The body feels good and the ankle feels good. I did all [the contact training] last week. And I am pretty confident after how I got through [Saturday's club game]. I had a few good touches and runs. The ankle felt really good. I pulled up fine. It’s not sore at all.”
Ashley-Cooper eyes midfield spotlight
Brumbies utility-back Adam Ashley-Cooper says he wants to play centre but isn’t holding his breath for a starting berth any time soon.
Ashley-Cooper injured his ankle in Round one against the Crusaders and has played since. However, he has been cleared for their match against the Chiefs this weekend.
Tyrone Smith has been impressive at inside centre while Stirling Mortlock is expected to be fit enough to play after a lengthy injury lay-off, taking over from Sanualio Afeaki.
“They have definitely set the standard,” Ashley-Cooper, speaking to the Canberra Times, said of Smith and Afeaki. “Nothing was expected of them, but they’ve come out and played really good football. I’d say Stirling will take over the 13 position and Tyrone will take the 12. Long-term yeah [I want to be in the centres], but at the moment I’m just happy playing anywhere in the backline.”
The Brumbies are waiting on a fitness assessment on utility-back Mark Gerrard who has struggled with a hamstring injury in recent weeks.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.