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Tahs tame Brumbies
The Waratahs pack set the platform for a 15-7 win over the Brumbies on Thursday.
The Tahs had the best of the hosts at the lineout and scrum, with Benn Robinson showing some impressive form in the latter. This is a good sign ahead of their match against the Reds next week. The Stormers would also do well to take note, as they face the Tahs in round two.
Phil Waugh scored for the visitors after a successful driving maul from the lineout. The Brumbies hit back thanks to a smart interchange between outside backs Francis Fainifo and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Stirling Mortlock kicked the conversion to claim the lead for the hosts.
A Berrick Barnes penalty edged the Tahs ahead at half-time, and Josh Holmes scored an important try in the second period.
Notably, the Brumbies were missing Matt Giteau and Rocky Elsom in this warm-up match.
Cipriani to join Rebels?
Rod Macqueen says Danny Cipriani is strongly contemplating a deal with the Melbourne Rebels.
Cipriani, who’s contract with London Wasps ends in May, held talks with representatives from the Rebels last week. Melbourne head coach Macqueen has confirmed the England flyhalf could be one of ten foreign players to sign for the franchise.
‘Danny is obviously the type of player we would like. He is a very talented individual and one of the players who has the skill-set that would be suitable to Super 15. He seemed very interested,’ Macqueen told The Times.
It has also been reported that the Rebels are negotiating deals with Bath fullback Nick Abendanon and Leceister lock Ben Kay.
Horwill trials at loose forward
Ewen McKenzie has confirmed Wallabies lock James Horwill will play in the back row against the Force on Friday.
Horwill moves from No 4 to No 6 for this warm-up match as McKenzie looks to experiment in the final hit-out before the Waratahs fixture.
‘I’ve been really impressed with his athleticism and power, and by putting him at six gives us a chance to get him more involved,’ McKenzie said. ‘If he doesn’t have such a large workload at scrum-time it gives him more opportunity to carry the ball and do other things.’
The fact that Horwill hasn’t played flank before hasn’t discouraged McKenzie from persisting with the experiment.
‘Obviously he is not attuned to that position but that doesn’t mean he can’t learn. We’ve seen plenty of examples of players at Test level and below taking on new positions in a short space of time, so this is just an experiment.
‘It might work well, it might not. But it certainly gives us options around lineouts and gives us a few other bits and pieces which will be interesting.’
Fairbanks set on Oz return
Former Brumbies flyhalf Gene Fairbanks says he wants to return to Canberra next season.
Just after Wednesday’s announcement that Julian Huxley plans to return to the Brumbies in 2011, Fairbanks has also signalled his intent on a comeback.
Fairbanks is currently playing club rugby in Japan for Honda after signing a one-year deal last season, but said wants to return to Australian rugby after his contract expires.
”When I left last year there was always a strong desire to come back and play Super14 again,” Fairbanks told The Canberra Times. ‘I definitely intend to meet with [Brumbies chief executive] Andrew Fagan while I’m back.
‘I’d look at Melbourne [Rebels] too, definitely, if there were options there. I’d look anywhere [but] I would find it difficult to play for anyone else apart from the Brumbies.’
This thread will be updated during the course of the day…