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Foley wants Tonga trial to give injury-hit Tahs taste of unexpected as opener looms

Date

Georgina Robinson

Gone to ground ... Lopeti Timani, a member of the "other" Tongan squad playing at the SFS tonight -- those Waratahs players with a Tongan connection -- checks out team training from the stadium's turf.

Gone to ground ... Lopeti Timani, a member of the "other" Tongan squad playing at the SFS tonight -- those Waratahs players with a Tongan connection -- checks out team training from the stadium's turf. Photo: Steve Christo

WARATAHS coach Michael Foley is hoping an unpredictable Tongan side gives his injury-depleted squad plenty to think about in its final trial at the SFS tonight.

The withdrawal of Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was the latest injury to hit the Waratahs a week out from their Super Rugby season-opener against traditional rivals the Reds.

Polota-Nau will join fellow Test representatives Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman, Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell on the sideline tonight but is expected to be available next weekend.

And while a largely inexperienced Tonga - who will feature none of their World Cup players - are not expected to pose the Waratahs too great a threat, the trial will provide vital game time for wingers Brackin Karauria-Henry and Tom Kingston, as well as replacement hooker Damien Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick was told on Wednesday he would be elevated to the side for the first two quarters. John Ulugia will come off the bench to play the third and fourth quarters.

''I'm very pleased,'' the 22-year-old said after the Waratahs' captain's run yesterday.

''It's not good that Taf went down, and you don't wish that on anyone, but with injury comes opportunity, so I'm looking to take that definitely.''

Foley was also talking about ''opportunity'' yesterday. ''Damien played particularly well last week. He's a guy that's going to play more game time this year and we've got John Ulugia who's the third hooker,'' he said.

''We played him at tight-head last week, so he's a prop for us, but he's also a hooker so he'll get an opportunity to play [tonight]. So it's good for Taf that he's having the rest and I'm pretty excited for Fitzy as well.''

Foley said NSW had not analysed their opponents, who will back-up to play the Junior Waratahs on Sunday as part of the Pacific Rugby Cup. He said the unknown element would be good for his squad.

''I think what we wanted to achieve with the Samoan game is not dissimilar … whatever they throw at us, we need to be able to cope with and we need to be able to make adjustments on the run,'' he said. ''We obviously have some plans to implement in the game but, last week, we had torrential rain which no one expected, and I thought the guys adjusted particularly well. I hope it's particularly unpredictable from them, and we see how we cope in different circumstances.''

Foley also downplayed the impact of Wallabies second-rower Vickerman's possible retirement.

''I think Dean Mumm, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani and Greg Peterson present you with some pretty good options, and Richard Stanford, who's got Super Rugby experience, has been training with us,'' he said.

''He played in our trial last week and he'll play again tomorrow night, and Dave Dennis, who's playing very well at six, can also play lock.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
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