WANDERERS breakaway Marcus Christensen will hop on a plane three hours after playing against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night to ensure he is on deck for the Two Blues’ sudden-death showdown against Nelson Bay at No,2 Sportsground on Sunday.
Christensen will pack down at lock for the Australian Stockman against the former Super rugby franchise.
It will be his second game in a five days after helping the invitational team to a 31-19 win over the Force under-19s on Monday night. University hooker Dane Le Rougetel is on the bench for the Stockman.
Christensen’s plane arrives in Sydney early Sunday morning.
“He is hoping to get enough rest in transit,” Wanderers coach Darren Young said. “He asked us about it when the invitation was offered to him. It was a no-brainer for us. It is a massive opportunity for him.”
Christensen will move from blindside breakaway to No.8 in place of Ben Ham who is suspended after picking up his third yellow card of the season against Hamilton.
“This has been Marcus’ best season,” Young said. “We challenged him this year and he has evolved as a player and leader.”
The Gropers accounted for Wanderers 18-6 in their last encounter at No.2 Sportsground in round 14 and are fresh from the bye in the final round. It was the only game this season in which the Two Blues have not crossed for a try.
“We have got the players to attack, but we have been basing our game on what we can do defensively to shut down key players,” hooker Dan Collins said. “We basically get up in the face of guys. Realistically a couple of years ago, the attackers would not have batted an eyelid at who was coming at them.”
The result at No.2 was in stark contrast to their first meeting at Strong Oval, which the Two Blues were convincing winners 44-5.
“They were just too good,” Collins said. “We couldn’t string a couple of blokes together in D and they found every hole. They are the type of team who keeps probing away until they find that hole. Our defence will be key. If we can keep the same as the last few weeks, we are in with a good chance.”