Chris Hickey.
Chris Hickey.

Hickey ponders Waratahs future

HOLIDAYING New South Wales Waratahs rugby union coach Chris Hickey will decide on his coaching future by the end of the week.

Hickey plans to meet the Waratahs board when he returns from a two-week stay in Ballina.

“It's a review process and I'll sit down with the board and work out what direction they want to go,” he said.

Hickey, who coached Ballina to four consecutive grand finals in the early 1990s, was on hand to watch his son Josh play at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday.

“Josh has enjoyed his time at the club this season and it was nice to see him play,” Hickey said.

“The rugby club has played a big part in him settling in on the Far North Coast.”

The Tahs coach is unsure whether he will return to the Ballina club in 2012 in a coaching capacity.

“I'm not sure if that will happen any time soon,” he said.

“I'd like to find my way back here eventually, but how long that will take, I don't know.”

Hickey also expects the Tri-Nations clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday to carry huge World Cup ramifications.

“Having to play them (All Blacks) at Eden Park will be a big test and an interesting pointer to the World Cup,” he said.

“I think the Wallabies have a good balance in their team.

“You need a solid half and five-eighth and they have that in Genia and Cooper.

“I'd love to see Berrick Barnes get an opportunity to play if his health holds up.”

Meanwhile, halfback Luke Burgess has been cleared to return for the Wallabies and may come off the bench against the All Blacks on Saturday night.

Burgess fractured his hand ahead of the Waratahs' Super Rugby play-off against the Blues in Auckland five weeks ago but finally looks set to get his chance.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans yesterday confirmed the 27-year-old had fully recovered and was back in the selection mix for the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup encounter as back-up to the influential Will Genia.

Deans will name his 24-man travel party today before announcing his team on Thursday after their first training session in Auckland.

Burgess, capped 32 times, is expected to replace rookie Nick Phipps in the only change to the 22-man squad which beat a second-string South Africa 39-20.

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