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Seven changes as Tahs take Bulls by the horn

Back in the starting side ... Sarel Pretorius.

Back in the starting side ... Sarel Pretorius. Photo: Anthony Johnson

THE WARATAHS will react to their embarrassing loss to the Brumbies by making up to seven changes, including the promotion of Sarel Pretorius and the demotion of Tom Carter, for Friday night's game against the Bulls at Allianz Stadium.

After wasting so many early attacking opportunities in Canberra, the Waratahs selectors have no option but to revamp their midfield, with Daniel Halangahu in contention to replace Carter at inside centre, while Rob Horne will return to outside centre after returning from suspension.

It is understood the Waratahs selectors were pleased with Halangahu's performance off the bench last weekend, believing he can provide better support for five-eighth Berrick Barnes, who played a more direct game, regularly attacking the gainline with ball in hand. Halangahu's involvement will give the Waratahs two midfield distributors.

After starting five games on the reserves bench Pretorius, the Waratahs' marquee overseas signing, is due for a recall to the starting line-up at the expense of Brendan McKibbin, which is not surprising, as the former Cheetahs halfback intimately knows what to expect from their South African opponents. McKibbin - who has provided the Waratahs with consistent goalkicking - and Carter both ran with the backup squad at yesterday's training session at Moore Park.

While fullback Bernard Foley ran yesterday, it remains doubtful he will be available because of his shoulder complaint, and it will be a few days before the selectors know if winger Tom Kingston, who appeared at outside-centre in Canberra, will play due to a hamstring concern.

The Waratahs pack will also have an overhaul. Openside breakaway Chris Alcock returns after having his appendix removed, and captain Rocky Elsom is preparing for his first starting appearance of the season. Although blindside breakaway Dave Dennis was one of the Waratahs' best in Canberra, the selectors know it is time for him to have a break. Although Dennis ran with the team yesterday, and Elsom was among the onlookers, a No.6 personnel change is imminent.

Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is likely to miss the Bulls match after suffering several serious head knocks against the Brumbies. While the Waratahs remain hopeful Polota-Nau will be available, they will not risk him, and John Ulugia was yesterday preparing as if he was about to take over as run-on hooker. A second row alteration is also probable.

Coach Michael Foley said the team yesterday reviewed their 17-point Canberra loss, and it wasn't pleasant. ''We're pretty disappointed by what happened. Then today we reviewed the game and were reminded of some of the things we set up for ourselves in that game and didn't finish off,'' he said.

The Waratahs, nine points behind the Brumbies at the top of the Australian conference, must win their next three encounters - all against South African teams - including two in the republic - to stay in touch. But they know the dangers of looking too far ahead.

''Every team wants to play in the finals, and every team wants to win the competition. Whether those things are a reality for us is not for us to think about right now,'' Foley said.

''We just have to play as well as we can in every game we play. Look at how we started against the Brumbies with the ball in hand - it was very positive. We were challenging and breaking the line. But we didn't finish off those chances. Now it is about creating those opportunities against the Bulls, and this time finishing them off.

''If we start thinking about what's going to happen at the end of the year, we'll take our eye off the ball right now.''

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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 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
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 02:45Olym
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 02:45Olym
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
View All Fixtures
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 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
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
View all
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
View all
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
View all
 

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