The Waratahs have thrown their support behind Will Harrison to slot into scrumhalf as they prepare for Saturday's clash against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium.
Harrison was named on the forward-heavy bench on his return from injury, with Darren Coleman opting for a 6-2 split.
This ensures Harrison and debutant Tevita Funa are the lone backline cover for the grudge match.
Whilst he has largely been trialled at flyhalf and fullback, the 22-year-old has been practising at scrumhalf throughout the week and is prepared to step in if needed.
“We do have confidence (in Will). Darren’s (Coleman) there making the big decisions and for him to tick this box off, he’s got to be confident in him,” Waratahs assistant coach Pauli Taumoepeau told reporters.
“Will’s been doing some really good work with passing off the deck, he jumps in there in training.
“He’s also been doing work with Andrew Blades around feeding the ball into the scrum and he’s been working with the hookers around how to feed the ball around and trap the ball at the number eights’ feet. He’s heading back (Thursday afternoon) to train with the number eights to learn when to and not to pick the ball up.
“We have full confidence around his passing play and how he can get around the field. It’s too big of a game and we have too much respect for the Brumbies and also for our jersey, we’re not going down to fill numbers or just check things out. We’re going down there to win and we wouldn’t have picked Will there or given him that role if we weren’t confident in him.”
The Waratahs enter the contest well aware of where the Brumbies will attack and look to score their points.
Whether they can stop it? Well, that's the key question.
“That’s in their DNA, isn’t it? You’ve come to expect it and that’s how good of a team they are to be honest,” he added.“ We know they are going scrum long and hard for a penalty and for a maul.
“It’s them going ‘we know you know but we’re still going to do it’ and that’s where they are us.
“Are they going to do it to test us? No, they’ll just do it because that’s who they are. Is it important for us to resist? Absolutely, we’ve got to be smart around how we scrum, their first one they are going to go at it, they won’t try and test the waters, they’ll try and go long and hard.
“For us, we don’t want to sit back and say ‘let’s see what they do here’, we just want to go in knowing they will maul to score, maul to penalty and scrum to penalty. We’re trying to attack whilst we’re defending.”
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