Waratahs don't expect to face Lions' big guns

ADRIAN WARREN
Last updated 08:09 13/06/2013

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NSW coach Michael Cheika has likened the British and Irish Lions to an impregnable tank but doesn't expect the Waratahs to face all the tourists' big guns on Saturday.

Cheika rates the match at Allianz Stadium the biggest one-off challenge of his coaching career as his vastly understrength team prepare for an in-form Lions outfit.

In four tour games, the Lions have crushed the Barbarians, Western Force and Combined NSW-Queensland Country and quelled a spirited challenge from the Queensland Reds.

They play the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday, four days before the opening Test in Brisbane.

Visiting coaches often use their last weekend fixture before a Test to field a potential Test line-up, but Cheika is tipping Lions coach Warren Gatland won't do that.

"I think they are looking to keep the competition humming," Cheika told AAP.

"Some players they are going to leave out for maybe a ten-day break, some guys they might double up that they feel they need the games.

"I think he (Gatland) is plotting his course quite well at the moment."

Cheika and assistant coach Alan Gaffney are familiar with many of the touring team having coached Irish provinces Leinster and Munster respectively.

"I think they are like a tank - they are impregnable at the moment and they've got depth in a lot of positions and so they should, four countries all together," Cheika said.

"They should be unbeatable really, so what we've got to do is just attack them as hard as we can and see if we can put some dents in the armour."

As was the case for last week's Super game against the Force, NSW will be without 10 Wallabies while six other players are unavailable due to injury.

"I don't think anyone thinks we're going to win, but if there's a one per cent chance of winning, we're going to go for it," Cheika said.

"We can't be looking to play for a glorious defeat, that's not what we're trying to learn here at NSW."

Flanker Patrick McCutcheon, who was scheduled to captain NSW against the Force before being forced to withdraw with a knee injury, is expected to be fit for Saturday's game.

And in another boost, five-eighth Bernard Foley and back-up halfback Matt Lucas were released from the Australian Sevens camp.

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- AAP

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