Tough turnaround … the Waratahs will have to rely on the centre combination of Adam Ashley-Cooper, rear, and Rob Horne, middle, for the do-or-die fixture against the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images
THE Waratahs are expected to again rotate several forwards, with Dave Dennis and Sitaleki Timani in line to return to the starting line-up for this weekend's match against the Stormers in Cape Town.
Bernard Foley is to regain his fullback spot at the expense of Daniel Halangahu, while the selectors are expected to persevere with the Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rob Horne centre combination for a match they must win to have any hope of making the Super Rugby finals.
Waratahs coach Michael Foley said from Cape Town last night that while everyone was available, a tough match schedule made it imperative a number of forwards were rested.
''There are a couple of blokes we're having a look at, because in the scrum, there have been some guys who've put a lot of miles on the clock, and it may be time to rest some of them,'' Foley said. ''There was a six-day turnaround between the Brumbies and Bulls games, followed by a long flight. We always knew this would a challenging point in the season, so we've had to take note of how guys have pulled up after the Bulls game.''
The most likely alterations are Dennis returning to the back row, and Timani to the second row. While captain Rocky Elsom was a standout in their 27-24 loss to the Bulls in Sydney last Friday night, Dennis's anticipated promotion could put him back on the bench.
Foley, who was unavailable for several weeks with a shoulder injury, was declared fit following the team's first Cape Town training session earlier this week.
It also appears their Test winger Drew Mitchell will make his long-awaited return against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday week.
''Drew's looking good for next week. Everything is on course. We brought him to South Africa on the proviso that he would be ready to play for the Cheetahs game. And at this point in time he is available,'' Foley said.
The Stormers have injury concerns, meaning Canadian Jebb Sinclair may have to cover a shortage of loose forwards in their squad with the latest casualty being No.8 Nizaam Carr, who is out for the season after injury his knee.
While the Stormers are delighted to have Sinclair, they are not happy he cannot play in the finals. A SANZAR regulation stipulates no player registered to a team after April 1 can be involved in the play-offs.
This has prompted Stormers coach Allister Coetzee to argue the regulation should be changed.
''I think more players should be made available than the 35 allowed, especially as there's a Test break,'' Coetzee said.
''We don't know in what condition the players will return if they are picked by the Boks.''
Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has described the 38-man Wales touring squad announced yesterday as a formidable group. ''The core of this Welsh squad have been together for a long time, and they are used to being successful,'' Deans said.