Mason to lead youthful Waratahs in Japan

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Young gun flyhalf Mack Mason will lead a youthful Waratahs side abroad, handed the captain's armband for the clash with NEC Green Rockets.

It's the first time Mason will pull on the NSW jersey all year with Bernard Foley one of the first picked every week but it is a nod to his standing within the group, nonetheless.

He will partner Jake Gordon in the halves but the halfback is one of the few Tahs regulars named in the 23, with coach Daryl Gibson opting to blood players plying their trade in Shute Shield and earning minutes on the fringes of the squad so far this year.

Harry Johnson Holmes, Hugh Roach and Shambeckler Vui will pack down in the front row, Jed Holloway and Ryan McCauley named as the locks.

Lachie Swinton, Maclean Jones and Brad Wilkin have been named in the back row, while Irae Simone and Lalakai Foketi will pair up in the centres.Brad Wilkin will start at No. 8. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyAlex Newsome, Cam Clark and Bryce Hegarty will feature as the back three, with the bench littered with regular starters in need of a well deserved rest.

Sunday's match is part of the CHICHIBUNOMIYA Minato Rugby Festival, preceding the Brumbies' showdown with Suntory.

“We want to show what we are about as a team and display our trademark of playing positive rugby," Mason said.

"One of our aims this year is to be consistent in our performances and we want to deliver on that this weekend.

"This is also an exciting opportunity for those who haven’t had that much game time this year.

"As for the NEC Green Rockets, we don’t know much about them as they are starting their pre-season only now but Japanese sides like to play the game at pace and they take their line speed to another level so our defence will need to be on point."

The Waratahs face the NEC Green Rockets in Tokyo on Sunday, kicking off at 12pm AEST.

TEAM

Waratahs team to face NEC Green Rockets

1. Harry Johnson-Holmes

2. Hugh Roach

3. Shambeckler Vui

4. Jed Holloway

5. Ryan McCauley

6. Lachlan Swinton

7. Maclean Jones

8. Brad Wilkin

9. Jake Gordon

10. Mack Mason (C)

11. Alex Newsome

12. Irae Simone

13. Lalakai Foketi

14. Cam Clark

15. Bryce Hegarty

Reserves

16. Damien Fitzpatrick

17. Cody Walker

18. Paddy Ryan

19. Tom Staniforth

20. Michael Wells

21. Will Miller

22. Mitchell Short

23. Will McDonnell

24. Taqele Naiyaravoro