Hard task ahead for Water Rats

WATERS Rats captain-coach Ryan Smith is expecting a bruising encounter against the Echidnas when Warwick travel to Roma in A-grade Darling Downs Rugby Union fixtures this Saturday.

The Water Rats are coming off last weekend's high of almost toppling Rangers but Smith said his side would be under-strength due to some key players having prior commitments.

“They're a top-four team so it's going to be a very tight tussle,” he said.

“We won't be running out a full-strength side this Saturday, a couple of players had prior commitments.”

Nonetheless Smith still said he would take a competitive team out to Roma and would have a couple of players on the bench.

He said the move back to just one grade for the remainder of the season had been a positive move by the club.

“I think it's just handy having that one team to just have the luxury of a 30-man squad which we can pick our 22 out of each week,” he said.

“The players that we've got are starting to step up and become A-grade quality so I think we're stepping in the right direction.”

One of the revelations in the past couple of weeks has been the move of Matt Wheatley from a utility back into fly-half.

Smith said Wheatley had filled the fly-half role perfectly, but could play anywhere in the backline.

Fred Walker and Josh Klein are stepping up and starting to form a solid centre partnership while flanker Alex Costello and utility Roger Ngaraki have had excellent games the past two weeks.

The Water Rats narrowly lost to Toowoomba Rangers at home on Saturday 32-20 despite leading at half time 13-12 and locking the score at 22-20 for much of the second half.

Smith said he was building the squad for Dalby at home next Saturday where he expects to name a full-strength side.

“I think we'll give Dalby a good run, we showed against Rangers that we can match it and now we're starting to get some good depth as well,” he said.



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