Waratahs unchanged for Kiwi clash

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs have stuck with a winning formula for their crunch game against the Highlanders this Saturday night.

Coach Daryl Gibson has kept the same 23 that beat the Rebels 50-23 last Sunday afternoon, confident they can repeat their best effort of the season.

"The players all stood up to the challenge of winning the game against the Rebels, a win that was the result of a lot of hard work leading into that match,” he said.

“Their training this week has been just as intense and accurate and so I am confident the same side that won so well last weekend can do the same again this weekend.”

Gibson conceded, though, that he would need a better whole-team performance to support Test stars Michael Hooper, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley.


“The whole side needs to be performing, and they did last week, so we’ll go into the match against the Highlanders with the same 23,” he said.

“We achieved our objective last week, but that’s just the first step on the road ahead of us, which we know is a tough one.

“We’ll continue to keep things simple and we’ve shown that’s when we’re at our best.”

Flanker Jack Dempsey is on the verge of returning to rugby for the first time since fracturing his foot earlier this season, named to play club rugby this weekend, before joining the Waratahs on tour next week.

Dempsey and Andrew Kellaway will be the only two additions to the fortnight-long tour, travelling to New Zealand after this weekend's Shute Shield games to prepare for their final pre-break match against the Chiefs.

The Highlanders have their heavy artillery returning for the match, with Ben Smith back from an ankle injury, Waisake Naholo back from suspension and Luke Whitelock also making his injury comeback.

Capped Test flyhalf Lima Sopoaga will come off the bench for the Highlanders, with Marty Banks retaining the starting spot.

The Waratahs sit four points behind the conference-leading Brumbies heading into round 14, with four games remaining in the regular season.

TEAM

IN: nil

OUT: nil

Waratahs team to face the Highlanders

1. Tom Robertson

2. Tolu Latu

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Dean Mumm

5. Will Skelton

6.  Ned Hanigan

7. Michael Hooper ©

8. Michael Wells

9. Nick Phipps

10. Bernard Foley

11. Cam Clark

12. David Horwitz

13. Rob Horne

14.  Taqele Naiyaravoro

15. Israel Folau

Reserves

16. Damien Fitzpatrick

17. Paddy Ryan

18. Angus Taavao

19. David McDuling

20. Jed Holloway

21. Jake Gordon

22. Bryce Hegarty

23. Irae Simone

Highlanders team to face Waratahs

1. Aki Seiuli

2. Liam Coltman

3. Siate Tokolahi

4. Alex Ainley

5. Tom Franklin

6. Elliot Dixon

7. Dillon Hunt

8. Luke Whitelock

9. Aaron Smith

10. Marty Banks

11. Tevita Li

12. Richard Buckman

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith

Reserves

16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Siosuia Halanukonuka

19. Joe Wheeler

20. Gareth Evans

21. Kayne Hammington

22. Lima Sopoaga

23. Rob Thompson

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