SYDNEY - The NSW Waratahs are sweating on Kurtley Beale being fit as they look to break the shackles in key clashes with Super Rugby free spirits the Blues and Hurricanes.
After crossing for just four tries in their past four games against dour South African opposition and the Western Force, the Waratahs have identified the next two outings with New Zealand rivals as an opportunity to reignite their misfiring attack.
The Waratahs opened their 2014 campaign with back-to-back four-try bonus-point wins and, with attacking trump Israel Folau back on deck against the Bulls on Saturday night, teased fans with a glimpse of what could be in store when the star-studded backline shifts into top gear.
The competition's leading tryscorer with nine five-pointers in five games, Folau provided the finishing polish after midfielders Bernard Foley, Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper combined brilliantly to prise open the Bulls defence.
Folau's strike after just 28 seconds was the fastest try of the season and lit up Allianz Stadium.
But the Waratahs never went close to scoring after Beale limped off before half-time with an ankle injury before halftime in a tight 19-12 victory.
NSW coach Michael Cheika will closely monitor Beale's progress before the Waratahs head to New Zealand on Thursday for an Anzac Day showdown with the Blues at Eden Park.