SYDNEY – Coach Michael Cheika said on Thursday he will not be risking star Wallaby fullback Israel Folau in the NSW Waratahs' final round Super Rugby match with Queensland this weekend.
Leading tryscorer Folau will miss the Australian derby in Brisbane on Saturday due to a bruised thigh, with the Waratahs already assured of finishing top of the Super 15 standings and hosting a home semi-final. "In another situation, maybe it would have been (worth the risk)," Cheika told reporters.
"But I'm more than confident with the team that we've got to play well up there." Cam Crawford will replace Folau, with Wallabies lock Will Skelton to start instead of South African Jacques Potgieter in the only other change to the Waratahs side that thrashed the Otago Highlanders 44-16 last weekend.
"Of course you lose a lot of attacking prowess, a lot of security under the high ball as well, and a strong defensive man," Cheika said of the missing Folau.