The HSBC Waratahs will follow up their opening trial against Samoa, February 10th in Tamworth, with a second match against Pacific Island opposition when they take on Tonga at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday, February 17.
With Sydney University playing Samoa in the curtain raiser (5.30pm) before the HSBC Waratahs take on Tonga at 7.30pm, fans will be able to enjoy two big games of rugby for the price of one in what promises to be an evening full of action.
The trial matches will be the first in charge for Head Coach Michael Foley, who is hoping that back to back encounters against such physical opposition will provide the tough test the team needs ahead of the big FxPro Super Rugby opener against the Queensland Reds.
Said Foley, “We are grateful for the opportunity to be playing both Samoa and Tonga in our preparation matches. These fixtures will see the players up against the formidable opponents that come with the Pacific Island style of play.
“The majority of the squad have worked continuously since last November, with the more recent integration of our Wallaby spring tourists. As a coaching team, we want to see players translate all the professional pre-season work on to the field of play. The matches are their opportunity to challenge for selection as we plan for the start of the of the FxPro Super Rugby tournament.”
The trials are likely HSBC Waratahs debuts for two high profile NSW signings, Central Coast-born Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper, who returns to his home state after seven years with the Brumbies, and dynamic South African scrum half Sarel Pretorius, last year’s Super Rugby top try scorer and Player of the Year in his native country.
As part of the HSBC Waratahs’ continuing association with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the event will help raise funds to assist with the Foundation’s ongoing work with seriously ill children.