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NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika dismisses Queensland Reds plan to not kick to Israel Folau

Dizzying heights: Israel Folau leaps over Nick Cummins.

Dizzying heights: Israel Folau leaps over Nick Cummins. Photo: Getty Images

Kick it short, send it long. Either way, the ball always ends up with Izzy. Despite noises from north of the border that the Reds will keep it out of the oversized paws of NSW strike weapon Israel Folau, the Waratahs will believe it when they see it.

''If we were going to kick, it would be pretty hard not to kick to the fullback, he's going to be back there somewhere,'' NSW coach Michael Cheika said. ''And even if they kick it to the other bloke he can pass it to the fullback, unless it's all contestable kicking.''

Reds halfback Will Genia has already ruled that out, stating his preference to kick to space, which is precisely where Folau will lurk alongside one of his playmakers, Kurtley Beale or Bernard Foley. Perhaps the Reds will run the ball instead, a la the Waratahs, in order to limit NSW's opportunities?

''I don't think that's the case; I think they'll kick like they normally do,'' Cheika said. ''It's not that easy to say, 'We're not going to kick this week', you train all the time and have habits.''

Cheika's play for underdog status was intriguing given the talent in his back line and sheer size in his pack. The Waratahs come in almost 50 kilograms heavier than their northern rivals even when towering second-rower Will Skelton is left on the bench.

''They've got size themselves - [James Horwill and Rob Simmons] are the two Australian locks aren't they - so I don't know if we want to get carried away with us having a super human sized pack,'' Cheika said.

If the Waratahs forwards can bring another level of cut-through to the clash on Saturday, it will be up to the likes of five-eighth Foley and inside centre Beale to make the magic happen.

The Waratahs were not pleased with their ball handling skills and defensive lapses against the Force on Sunday and will be aiming for a much cleaner performance against opportunistic players such as Quade Cooper and Will Genia.

''They're very quick to pick up the weak defenders around the ruck or, if they've got their shoulders pointing the wrong way, to use their feet and get back in on the inside,'' Foley said of his Wallabies team mates.

''That's where we're going to have to be on song, locking in around the ruck there, because that's where a bloke like Will or Quade can easily identify that and hurt you.''

2 comments so far

  • Should be one of the games of the season.. Im a bit worried as a Reds fan.. NSW have a lot of very good players this year, big damaging ball runners in the forwards, speed and class in the backs. Reds will have to be at their very best I feel.

    It almost has a test match feel about it, both sides stacked with Wallabies.. cant wait.

    go the REDS!!

    Commenter
    Lats
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 1:21PM
    • @ Lats
      Like you, looking forward to the game, but in my case, Go The Waratahs !!!

      Commenter
      Old Hickory
      Location
      Maroubra
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 5:08PM

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