Injuries may push Dennis into second row
Testing times ... Dave Dennis. Photo: Getty Images
DAVE DENNIS'S versatility will be tested in Bloemfontein as he is scheduled to move to the second row to provide cover for the Waratahs' growing injury list when they play the Cheetahs on Saturday night.
Apart from the despair caused by their fourth straight loss, which has seen the Waratahs sink below the Rebels on the Australian conference table, they now must prepare to overcome the potential loss of three of their key forwards, captain Rocky Elsom, and second-rowers Dean Mumm and Sitaleki Timani, who are all in doubt through injury.
The Waratahs could be without all three, forcing them to dramatically reshuffle their pack, and having to select a new second-row combination of Kane Douglas and Dennis.
While Dennis has been used as a back-rower this season, he is the prime candidate to take over from Timani, who has a shoulder strain, and Mumm, who suffered a serious head knock in the final stages of the 19-13 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.
Elsom has a corked biceps and the Waratahs selectors will not know for a few days whether he will be available. While scans confirmed that Timani had not fractured his shoulder, it is still sore and he will be rested from training for a while. If Dennis moves to the second row, Wycliff Palu will start at No.8.
Dennis is expected to make the Wallabies training squad for next month's internationals, as he has been among the Waratahs most consistent forwards, and his ability to play second row as well as in the back row will certainly help his cause.
The Waratahs have beckoned second-rower/back-rower Richard Stanford from Sydney to act as cover, but it will mean one player will have to return home this week, because touring parties are only allowed 24 players.
Test winger Drew Mitchell also remains on track to play his first game of the season, but it will revolve around how he fares in their two training sessions before the team heads from Cape Town to Bloemfontein on Thursday.