Timing tipped to help Waratahs

NSW coach Chris Hickey is hoping the Waratahs can capitalise on their favourable draw in tomorrow night's Super 14 showdown with the leg-weary Queensland Reds.

While the Waratahs will have had a full week to prepare for the interstate grudge match, the Reds are backing up from Sunday's draining victory over the Cheetahs - and also still recovering from a two-game stint in South Africa.

Cheetahs captain Juan Smith, one of the fittest players in South African rugby, collapsed in the Suncorp Stadium dressing room after the rare afternoon fixture was contested in near-40 degree heat in Brisbane.

The conditions also took their toll on the Reds, with some players reporting they'd shed up to seven kilograms during the game.

Queensland coach Phil Mooney waited two days before assembling his troops for a pool recovery session, and yesterday's hit-out and today's captain's run are the only two training runs the Reds have scheduled before taking on the Tahs.

Mooney admits it will be a big ask for the Reds to bounce back.

“But the way the game is now, and with the facilities at our disposal, I'm sure by Friday night we'll be recovered and ready to go,” he said yesterday.

Hickey, though, suspected the Waratahs - at home for the third straight week - would be in far better shape.

“You're never sure how these things might affect you but certainly coming back from South Africa, quite often it's the second week back that it impacts on you,” he said.

In other weekend matches, the Western Force take on the Chiefs in Waikato, Hurricanes tackle Cheetahs, Blues play Sharks, Highlanders host Crusaders and Bulls host Stormers.

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