Israel Folau to fill in at 12 for Waratahs

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has revealed that they will share the No 12 role a little but more than usual in their Super Rugby Semi-final against the Highlanders.

The Waratahs have been unable to select their first choice No.12 Kurtley Beale and have named Matt Carraro to start in his place.

Cheika could have named former centre Rob Horne at 12 but chose to keep Horne on the wing for the Allianz Stadium clash.

Horne does spend time drifting into the No 12 when Beale is playing and the winger will do the same against the Highlanders however he will not be alone in moving into the 12 position.

“Obviously, Matt is not the same type of player as Kurtley is, but Israel (Folau) has been picking up a bit of that slack around the second playmaker role,” Cheika told AAP.

“We just share it around a little bit more as opposed to it being two dedicated guys and go from there.”

In the Waratahs final regular season match against the Reds Carraro came into the starting line up to cover for Beale and impressed Cheika with the way he marked Reds’ giant Samu Kerevi.

“We obviously had the choice to bring Rob Horne in there as well, but we think Matt did a really good job playing against the Reds there,” he said.

The Waratahs had hoped that Beale would recover from his quadriceps injury but failed a fitness test on training on Thursday.

“He ran yesterday, but he wasn’t able to get to top pace, so that’s pretty much a clear indicator that he’s not ready to play,” Cheika said.

“The game is going to be at top pace, that’s for sure, and – if he can’t get there – there’s no point in him being out there.”

Meanwhile lock, Will Skelton has admitted that he admires the Highlanders forward pack and he is excited about playing against them.

“Their forwards are great; they are really hardworking. Not as many big names … guys like Elliot Dixon and Gareth Evans coming off the bench are great players and I’m really looking forward to playing against them,” Skelton said.

“As a team, they led quite a bit in the conference this year and they were unlucky not to get the home semi – they finished with more points than us on the table,” Skelton admitted.

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