Winless Waratahs hit by more injuries
The NSW Waratahs will limp to the finish line of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, with interim coach Chris Whitaker revealing they barely have enough players for their final round clash with the Chiefs.
The Sydney-based franchise has one final chance to bank their first win of a horror year, but will be undermanned with more players joining the casualty ward ahead of the Brookvale Oval match.
Skipper and scrumhalf Jake Gordon (knee), hooker Dave Porecki (calf) and tighthead prop Darcy Breen (neck) all picked up injuries during last round’s loss to the Highlanders.
Fellow props Angus Bell (illness), Harry Johnson-Holmes (neck) and Tetetra Faulkner (back), who missed the Highlanders, are also in some doubt.
Whitaker said Gordon would undergo a scan on Wednesday, which could threaten his availability for the Wallabies Test series against France next month.
Asked if it was a “good thing” the season was almost over, Whitaker replied that they would struggle to even field a competitive team.
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“We couldn’t keep going – we haven’t got enough numbers,” Whitaker said on Tuesday.
“I think we’ve got 19 or 20 guys on the injured list at the moment and a lot of them are serious.
“We had three Wallabies props pull out on the Wednesday and we lost a few more on the weekend as well.”
Whitaker praised his players for their efforts in the face of record scorelines through the five-week competition against Kiwi teams which came after a winless Super Rugby AU.
“You can’t pat the guys on the back enough – even in the last minute [against the Highlanders], there’s no chance we’re in the game, the boys have still tried to score.
“There’s still plenty of positives in the group, unfortunately, we’re just running low [on players].
“We’ll get out to Shute Shield and see who’s around and get some players in.”