The Waratahs’ woes have been compounded ahead of their match against the Melbourne Rebels, with Kurtley Beale battling a bout of tonsillitis that has kept him off the training paddocks for two days.
Beale’s illness could not come at a worse time for NSW, given they will be without their regular fullback Israel Folau, who has been stood down by the Waratahs for a social media post that said homosexuals were going to hell.
Beale was tipped to wear this No.15 jersey this week at the SCG but the Herald understands he has come down with tonsillitis.
The early word is that Beale is probably going to be fit to play but coach Daryl Gibson will not take any risks against the Rebels, who are leading the Australian conference.
On Monday, Gibson hinted he might have to pick someone out of position at fullback. At this stage, Karmichael Hunt, Alex Newsome and Adam Ashley-Cooper are the back-up candidates.
“We’ve got a lot of part-timers there,” Gibson said. “Obviously, Karmichael’s had experience there, Alex has, Adam, probably none of them would say that’s their preferred position, or their strongest position, so everyone we stitch together will be a part-time [proposition].
“There’s lots of options on the table, isn’t there? Obviously, at this point, to lose a player of Israel’s calibre, it’s a great opportunity for our boys to step up and show what they can do.”