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Tahs recruit Naiyaravaro could face Lions

News.com.au
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Update: 10:30PM A RAMPAGING two-try debut in club rugby by new Waratahs recruit Taqele Naiyaravaro has convinced coach Michael Cheika that he is ready for Super Rugby.

Cheika revealed he will consider the 195cm, 120kg flyer Naiyaravaro for selection this week when the Tahs host the Lions at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

But the exciting prospect of seeing 23-year-old winger Naiyaravaro running out in the Waratahs jersey has been tempered by injury news for the club.

Wallabies winger Peter Betham has now been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season after further assessment of his broken foot, while back-up hooker Tolu Latu faces a lengthy sideline stint after suffering an ankle injury playing for Sydney University last Saturday.

Naiyaravaro, the giant Fijian winger was lured to NSW from NRL club Wests Tigers last week, starred in the Parramatta Two Blues defeat to Eastwood last Saturday under the watchful eye of Cheika and is set to be unleashed this month.

Its not too early, he has been brought up on the game so its not new, we will see how he goes at training this week, Cheika said.

In this next block of three games well be looking to give him a go.

There are some finer points of playing Super Rugby that well need to address, but, no risk, no reward.

Naiyaravaro played the full 80 minutes at TG Millner Field the first 50 on the wing and the remainder at inside centre - with Parramatta leading Eastwood at half-time before the home side came back to win 35-24.

I struggled a bit as I am still getting used to playing the full 80 minutes but I am excited that I pushed through and lasted, said Naiyaravaro, who had been playing for the Tigers NSW Cup team and decided to make the switch to rugby after failing to break into first grade.

I was just lucky enough to get the ball in good areas.

Hats off to the boys, they did all the work, I just had to finish what they started.

Time wasnt really on my side but they just told me to go out, enjoy the game and do what I do.

With Betham not expected to be fit until the end of July, Naiyaravaro will battle for a wing spot against Rob Horne, Matt Carrarro, Cam Crawford and Alofa Alofa who showed no signs of his knee injury playing for West Harbour on Saturday, scoring a try.

The Waratahs depth at hooker will be tested after Latus injury.

Starting No.2 Tatafu Polota-Nau came off early in their last match against the Hurricanes with what was thought to be a stomach injury, but it turned out to be a virus and he is fit for this weekend.

But untried rookie Hugh Roach will now be Polota-Naus back-up.

Roach is a promising young talent who was rookie of the year in last seasons Shute Shield after playing brilliantly at hooker and openside flanker for grand finalists Eastwood.


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