Halfback rotation continues for Waratahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs' halfback rotation has continued, with Nick Phipps the only starting change for NSW against the Chiefs.

Phipps swaps spots with Jake Gordon for the final match in a four-week trans-Tasman block, in which the pair have shared the load.

Coach Daryl Gibson has made some tweaks on the bench, with luckless backrower Brad Wilkin coming onto the bench for a possible debut.

Wilkin was a highly-rated youngster, snapped up by NSW from Queensland, but he has missed two consecutive seasons with ACL injuries.

Paddy Ryan comes into the 23 to replace Shambeckler Vui, with Jed Holloway the team's second row cover in Hamilton.

Brad Wilkin will miss a second straight season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyGibson said he was expecting a tough game from the Chiefs, despite the Kiwi side suffering from a series of injuries.

"The way they play the game, really strong at the contact and breakdown, really challenged in that area," he said.

"We know conditions are likely to be greasy, a lot of rain and so that'll play into that, so that's what we're steeling ourselves for.

"And then, also Chiefs have also been very good with ball in hand from loose play situations. Again, we can't afford for ourselves to be loose in any way."

Gibson praised Israel Folau for his ability to separate his on-field form from controversy off the field, with the fullback in a rich vein of form heading to Hamilton. 

"His performances over the last three weeks have been outstanding," Gibson said.

"It's probably some of the best rugby he's played and it's remarkable mental strength.

The Waratahs take on the Chiefs on Saturday, kicking off at 7:35pm local, 5:35pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. 

TEAM

IN: Paddy Ryan, Brad Wilkin

OUT: Shambeckler Vui, Ryan McCauley

Waratahs to face the Chiefs

1. Tom Robertson (38)

2. Damien Fitzpatrick (42)

3. Sekope Kepu (118)

4. Tom Staniforth (11)

5. Rob Simmons (9)

6. Will Miller (10)

7. Michael Hooper (Captain, 91)

8. Michael Wells (26)

9. Nick Phipps (67)

10. Bernard Foley (Vice Captain, 98) 

11. Taqele Naiyaravoro (43)

12. Kurtley Beale (121)

13. Curtis Rona (11)

14. Cam Clark (17)

15. Israel Folau (83)

Reserves

16. Tolu Latu (46)

17. Harry Johnson-Holmes (11)

18. Paddy Ryan (100)

19. Jed Holloway (34)

20. Brad Wilkin (*)

21. Jake Gordon (22)

22. Lalakai Foketi (11)

23. Bryce Hegarty (24)

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