IN TRAINING: The Waratahs, here in a pre-season training session at Brookvale Oval last month, will play a trial match in Lismore on January 23. GETTY IMAGES
IN TRAINING: The Waratahs, here in a pre-season training session at Brookvale Oval last month, will play a trial match in Lismore on January 23. GETTY IMAGES

Waratahs to play hard

THERE are now just 50 days until Super 15 rugby union comes to Lismore, where the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds clash in a pre-season trial match at Oakes Oval.

For one member of the Waratahs, it will be something of a ‘homecoming’.

Tahs head coach and former Northern Rivers coach Chris Hickey said his team will be looking to take more than just a pre-season hit out from the game.

“We try and take these games around to regional areas, and we’re very happy to take it to Lismore,” he said.

“It’s a great part of the world, and I know a lot of our players spend time up there on holidays.”

With the former Ballina Rugby Club, Far North Coast Rugby and Country Rugby coach joining assistant coach Scott Wisemantel of Lennox Head and player Ben Coridas who hailed from Alstonville, the Northern Rivers connection is strong.

“It shows the region is strongly represented in the Waratahs,” Hickey said.

The Saturday, January 23, trial game will be the first of the season for the Super 14 team and Hickey said it will be ‘a very important game for us’.

“There is a lot we’d like to achieve out of the game because by then we will have been working for 10 weeks so we will try to put some of our strategies into the game under pressure,” he said.

“All these trials are really important for the players because they get to put their hand up to be selected in the first Super 14 game.”

And with the Waratahs supplying 12 players for the Wallabies team that recently completed a tour of the Northern Hemisphere, the NSW team that will come to Lismore in January will be a much younger side.

“The 12 players selected for the Wallabies will go on leave and have a well-earned break before they rejoin the Waratahs squad in January,” Hickey said.

“Then they will be on restricted training loads but we may have some come up for the trial.”

However, despite newer faces gracing the field in the clash against Queensland, Hickey said there would be ‘no shortage of talent on the night’.

“This is an exciting trial and we have a fairly young squad this year,” he said. “There are some terrific young players who didn’t make the Wallabies selection but we might see them come up for contention for the Wallabies next year.”

The trial game will begin from 7.40pm.

 Tickets for the game are now on sale from Ticketek at www.ticketek.com or on 13 28 49. Adult tickets range from $12 to $20, concession/junior $8 to $12 and family tickets are $35 to $52.

There is also the chance to dine with the Waratahs at a dinner to be held at Southern Cross University on January 22.

Tickets for the dinner are available from the Lismore Visitor Information Centre from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily, or by calling 1300 369 795. Cost is $90 per person or $850 for a table of 10, including all food and drinks.



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