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Wounded Waratahs send for wing

It never rains but it pours … Wycliff Palu gets a soaking at Moore Park yesterday as the injury-hit Waratahs prepare for the Crusaders.

It never rains but it pours … Wycliff Palu gets a soaking at Moore Park yesterday as the injury-hit Waratahs prepare for the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images

THE Waratahs have been forced to look outside their 30-man squad to fill their depleted back line, with Sydney University's Peter Betham in line for a wing spot against the Crusaders in Sydney on Sunday.

The Waratahs players are not exactly brimming with confidence at the prospect of confronting last year's finalists and the most successful Super Rugby franchise, who may even have All Blacks captain Richie McCaw back on the reserves bench, when they are well short of fielding their best line-up.

Their back line looks most vulnerable, as they are looking for a fullback and outside centre after a shoulder injury to Bernard Foley and the two-week suspension of Rob Horne.

While Tom Kingston is likely to fill the outside-centre spot and Adam Ashley-Cooper expected to move to fullback, there are two wing spots to fill, prompting Betham's call-up.

The Waratahs management have been in contact with the Australian Rugby Union seeking permission for them to select Betham from outside the squad. The winger, who was with the Rebels last season, has been close to selection with the Waratahs for some weeks.

Betham and Atieli Pakalani ran on the wings yesterday in a disjointed training session at Moore Park, where the Waratahs were unable to run their proper back line because five-eighth Berrick Barnes had to leave early due to a stomach complaint.

The Waratahs will try again today, working on several back-line combinations before deciding what is the best mix to confront the Crusaders.

In between torrential showers, the news didn't get any brighter for the Waratahs when they were informed that McCaw was a possibility of appearing at Allianz Stadium.

Waratahs No.8 Wycliff Palu shook his head and started laughing. ''That's good for us, isn't it?'' Palu said. ''We always seem to get the Crusaders where everyone is back on deck. Whether he's starting or off the bench, we just know this will be an 80-minute game. It's too bad that he's not coming back the following week.''

Palu is a veteran of many battles with McCaw, both at Super Rugby and Bledisloe Cup level. ''I've played him a fair few times now. He's one of those players who is very hard to get to, and when you do actually get him, it doesn't really affect him.''

And then there's Kieran Read, for whom Palu has an enormous respect. When asked where Read sits on the international back-row pecking order, Palu said: ''He's right up the top. He does everything a back-rower should do. He jumps in the lineout, is a good scrummager and [is] good around the field as well.''

As for Ashley-Cooper, he is just waiting to find out where he will be playing - fullback, centre or wing. ''It is actually a very good question, he said.

''There is a possibility I play either 13 or 15, but it depends how the combinations work at training this week. We just have to see how we gel together before deciding on a back line to play the Crusaders.

''We have a few injuries, and we'll be up against it. But this team does perform well under pressure - and we're certainly feeling it this week. Still we know you can't get away with anything against the Crusaders.''

Meanwhile, former Wallaby No.8 Tim Gavin has been appointed NSW Rugby Union president, replacing John Coolican. Gavin was handed the position at the NSWRU's annual general meeting on Monday night. Mick Mathers was elected vice-president.

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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