The Waratahs or 'Tahs as their supporters call them are one of Australia's more successful teams in Super Rugby. They have a rich history dating back to 1882 when they played their first game against Queensland. In 1927/28 they toured the United Kingdom, North America and France, winning 24 of their 31 games. They continued playing winning rugby during the 1930's culminating in beating the Springboks in 1937 at the SCG.
When the Super Rugby competition started back in 1996 many believed that the Waratahs would be one of the teams challenging for the title. However, they struggled in the first couple of years, finishing in the middle or bottom half of the log. It took them until 2002 to reach the finals and from there on in it has been a real roller-coaster ride for them going from the top of the log to the bottom at regular intervals.
In this season's competition they will be coached by Micheal Foley.
The squad in alphabetical order is:
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Chris Alcock, Berrick Barnes, Tom Carter, Daniel Halangahu, Rob Horne, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Rocky Elsom, Damien Fitzpatrick, Bernard Foley, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Sekope Kepu, Tom Kingston, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Drew Mitchell, Dean Mumm, Atieli Pakalani, Wycliff Palu, Greg Peterson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sarel Pretorius, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jeremy Tilse, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, John Ulugia, Dan Vickerman.
With players like Elsom and Vickerman, experience is not a problem, but they are past their prime in rugby. Ashley-Cooper can break games, but the loss of Drew Mitchell due to injury may prove costly but they have gained a brilliant scrum half in Sarel Pretorius. He has a sniping break and gets the ball out quickly. Overall the squad doesn't look to badly. The players are there that can do the job. The question is will they?
The Waratahs can reach the top two places in the Australian Conference as long as they play to their potential. A place in the play-offs is definitely on the cards and from there on in anything can happen. Depth might be the biggest problem as it is a long hard season ahead. But all teams will struggle with this. I believe the 'Tahs can win Super Rugby 2012 but they will have to play good honest rugby to do this.
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