Plenty for Gibson to watch in Waratahs trial

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says the side is using this weekend’s trial to look at some developing combinations first hand.

A handful of high-profile recruits making their Waratahs debuts, while Wallabies lock Will Skelton returns from injury, in a squad that Gibson said gave him plenty to look at.

“For me, there’s plenty of interesting things to look out,” he said.

“We’re also running some combinations that I’m interested in seeing, giving lots of young guys an opportunity as reward for their efforts over preseason and seeing how they’re going to handle the step up in level.”

With starting flyhalf Bernard Foley not returning from Japan until next week, Gibson has opted to start Andrew Deegan in the playmaker’s role.

New recruit Bryce Hegarty coming off the bench, with the possibility of coming on at fullback or flyhalf.

Horwitz, who could be the first Jewish player to make the Super Rugby grade, has generally been a 10 but Gibson said he was interested in seeing the youngster’s versatility.

“I’m interested in seeing how he goes as a 12, inside centre, and obviously with Bryce Hegarty he’s going to get some game time in the 2nd half,” he said.

“(With him) being new to the team I’ve been impressed with his skills over the last week that he’s put in with us and I think his role’s pretty important with us because it allows us to play the likes of Horwitz at 12."

David Horwitz could be in line for his Waratahs debut this season. Photo: Getty Images

While opportunities might be hard for Horwitz to come by in the regular season, the 21-year-old  said he was happy to wait his turn.

“It’s (our backline) obviously ridiculously talented, we’ve got a Wallaby in every position,” he said.

“It's really tough it's a good challenge but there’s no better way to learn.

"I find I learn a lot more off Kurtley Beale everyday than I do from the coaches so I’m really lucky to have those guys in front of me.”

Gibson’s back line experimentation comes with the mission of finding genuine options to back up Foley as the season wears on.

“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got a replacement for Bernard that’s the most obvious thing,” he said.

“Obviously he's still on his break from Japan and that’s really a case of seeing him when he turns up on Monday and what frame of mind and physical condition he’s in.”

NRL convert Reece Robinson is one that Gibson will be watching closely,as his transition to Rugby steps up a notch.

“What Reece offers is the type of winger we  don’t have,” he said.

“He’s very fast, he finishes well.

“On the back of a back line that can create him those opportunities it can be very exciting.”

Gibson said Skelton would play up to 40 minutes of their opening hit-out, while fellow injured Wallabies Rob Horne and Israel Folau will return to the side in the next fortnight.