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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 ...

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.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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