Folau headlines returns for Waratahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

The Waratahs have brought back a host of stars to face the Rebels on Thursday night at Brookvale Oval.

Israel Folau will play his first game since last October's Bledisloe Cup when he runs out at fullback for the Waratahs, after taking a sabbatical through the Spring Tour.

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said Folau was taking more of a leadership role since coming back to NSW.

Israel Folau on attack for the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images"He's fresh, he looks in fantastic shape," he said.

"I know he'll be coming out and wanting to prove a point and he hasn't played in a long time, so I'm sure he's keen to get on the park and do his thing.

"I think he's not only come back re-energised within himself but he's come back wanting from the outside looking in, wanting to help younger players and impart some of his knowledge on them and he's done that well and wanting him to do more of it."

Kurtley Beale has been cleared of an elbow injury that ruled him out of the Tens, set to combine with Bernard Foley at Super Rugby level for the first time since a stint with UK side, Wasps.

In the forwards, Tom Staniforth has been given the chance to combine with Rob Simmons in the second row, with Ned Hanigan on the bench, while Michael Wells and Jed Holloway will start in the back row alongside Hooper.

Winger Cam Clark will also sit out the match with a hamstring injury he picked up at the Brisbane Tens, while Curtis Rona has won the battle for the 13 spot, edging out Lalakai Foketi for the outside centre spot.

The Waratahs will take on the Rebels on Thursday February 15, kicking off at 6:45pm AEDT. 

TEAM

Waratahs to face Rebels

1. Tom Robertson

2. Damien Fitzpatrick

3. Paddy Ryan

4. Tom Stanifoth

5. Rob Simmons

6. Michael Wells

7. Michael Hooper

8. Jed Holloway

9. Jake Gordon

10. Bernard Foley

11. Andrew Kellaway

12. Kurtley Beale

13. Curtis Rona

14. Alex Newsome

15. Israel Folau

Reserves

16. Hugh Roach

17. Tolu Latu

18. Shambeckler Vui

19. Harry Johnson-Holmes

20. Will Miller

21. Mitch Short

22. Mack Mason

23. Bryce Hegarty

24. Ned Hanigan

25. Lalakai Foketi

26. Lachlan Swinton

27. Ryan McCauley

28. Brad Wilkin

29. Nick Palmer

30. Irae Simone

31. Taqele Naiyaravoro