Lismore game for Waratahs, Reds
FOR incumbent Wallabies, Super 14 trials may seem superfluous, but for fringe Waratahs they serve as salvation.
That is why Far North Coast rugby union fans can begin to salivate ahead of the NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds clash at Oakes Oval, Lismore, next Saturday night.
The match has trial status, and a thorough examination it will be with both State coaches indicating the clash will serve as a genuine selection trial which brings the promise of some exciting rugby.
Third-string Waratahs halfback Brendan McKibbin is one of the players to go under the microscope and after nine weeks slogging it out in the summer sun the former Red is keen to set the tone.
“The match in Lismore is very important to us as a group because we get first crack to show Waratahs fans and the rest of the world how we want to play in 2010,” McKibbin said.
“It’s an exciting time and we all want to put our hands up and show the coaching staff what we have.”
Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has a plethora of potential weapons in the outside backs and McKibbin hopes to have the key to unlock and unleash the devastation.
“Having guys like Lachy Turner and Drew Mitchell out wide, why wouldn’t you give the ball to them?” McKibbin said.
“They are great athletes.”
But with Luke Burgess and Josh Holmes ahead of him in the race for the sky blue No 9, the Scottish-born 24-year-old faces an uphill battle to make the NSW squad of 22, and it is those intra-team battles that will make the Oakes Oval clash great for spectators.
“With the style of play we want to achieve this year we really urge the fans to get out and support us,” he said.
“All the boys are really eager and there is a real buzz around the place.”
While he knows only a stand-out performance will earn him more game time, McKibbin is careful to walk the line between rallying troops and overplaying his hand.
“I need to play well, but to do so other players need to shine,” he said.
“If I can get the team functioning well and the ’Tahs play good football, then that is my main role.
“The team’s performance is a reflection on me.
“We have worked well together throughout the pre-season, which is good, but it’s still just training.
“We just need to develop our combinations through real game time.”
Tickets for the match are available at ticketek.com or by phoning 132 849.