Desperation begin to set in for the Waratahs

Desperation begin to set in for the Waratahs

It's becoming a bit of a broken record, but the Waratahs find themselves in desperate need of a win — again.

They've lost five matches and won just once this season against the Crusaders

In isolation, that's a win worth making a big song and dance about, but means little in the context of the Crusaders' campaign where they've been as bad as the Waratahs with the same five-and-one record.

The Waratahs, who will visit the capital to play the Brumbies in round seven on Saturday, are understandably at long odds against the leading Australian side in Super Rugby Pacific.

The Brumbies have a five-and-one record too. That's five wins and one loss, however.

"It's confidence versus desperation this weekend," said Morgan Turinui on Stan Sport show The Call Up.

"The Brumbies have just improved every single time we've seen them and we just forgot they are the kings of the local derbies. 

"We talk about turning teams over and changing, the only time they've lost to an Australian team in the last 18 months was when they changed all their team against the Western Force and went there. 

"Tipping against the Brumbies in Australian versus Australian matches is just fool's gold. They look settled."

The Brumbies are reaping the rewards of a side with plenty of depth while the Waratahs flounder with injuries.

So dire was the situation for the Tahs that they had to dip into their academy stocks for their round six contest against the Rebels.

Standout hooker Mahe Vailanu went down in that match with a serious knee injury and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.

David Porecki hasn't started for the Waratahs this season as he recovers from a blown Achilles tendon.

That's left Theo Fourie and Julian Heaven as the only noteworthy players in the Waratahs' hooker stocks. 

Concreter Jay Fonokalafi made his Waratahs debut last month and has been brought back into the training camp as cover.

Angus Bell of the Waratahs is tackled during the round four Super Rugby Pacific against the Blues. (Brett Hemmings via Getty Images)

The Waratahs will welcome the return of Angus Bell, who only a month ago was benched by coach Darren Coleman in a bizarre selection swing that ruffled feathers.

"Angus Bell comes back in, so the terrible situation last week of having to throw Jack Barrett, – a 19-year-old Colts player who had never played grade footy – to start in a Super Rugby Pacific match isn't there," said Turinui.

"Mahe Vailanu is out for the season it seems with a meniscus injury. So Bell in is huge. Julian Heaven did a good job from what we've seen of him so far but Vailanu has been one of their best. Harry Johnson-Holmes comes in to shore up the tight head side, so that wll be huge.

"You'd think, why would you tip anyone but the Brumbies in Canberra? This is the kind of game that the Tahs come out and perform."

The match will be highlighted by James Slipper making his 178th Super Rugby Pacific start in doing so becoming the most-capped Australian player in history.

BRUMBIES vs WARATAHS in Canberra, Saturday 7.35pm kickoff AEDT

BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Wright, Ollie Sapsford, Hudson Creighton, Tamati Tua, Corey Toole, Noah Lolesio, Ryan Lonergan (c), Charlie Cale, Tom Hooper, Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Sosefo Kautai, Billy Pollard, James Slipper

Reserves: Connal McInerney, Fred Kahea, Rhys van Nek, Cadeyrn Neville, Luke Reimer, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Declan Meredith

WARATAHS (15-1): Max Jorgensen, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Joey Walton, Lalakai Foketi, Dylan Pietsch, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon (c), Hugh Sinclair, Charlie Gamble, Lachie Swinton, Fergus Lee-Warner, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Julian Heaven, Angus Bell

Reserves: Theo Fourie, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Tom Ross, Miles Amatosero, Sione Misiloi, Teddy Wilson, Will Harrison, Izaia Perese

Referee: Nic Berry

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