Pier(etto) pressure: Pumas prop thrown straight into Waratahs side for do-or-die clash

Wed, May 15, 2024, 3:59 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
NSW Waratahs v Brumbies Highlights | Round 12 | SRP 24

The NSW Waratahs have turned to former Argentinian prop Enrique Pieretto for Saturday's must-win clash against the Western Force.

Pieretto will start at tight-head prop at HBF Park, following Harry Johnson-Holmes' season-ending Achilles injury.

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The Glasgow front-rower flew in on Saturday after being signed last week as a 'medical joker' following the Waratahs' remarkable injury run that has sidelined every full-time contracted front-rower.

“I was excited to come over,” Pieretto said to the media on Tuesday.

“Darren called me and explained the situation and I spoke to the coaches in Glasgow. They were happy to let me go.

“It is a massive opportunity to me to be here at a club that is (an) amazing place and (with) good boys. It was good to meet them and they’ve made me feel welcome.”

Pieretto initially eyed a move to Sydney in 2019 before it was blocked by officials, having spent several years at the Jaguares.

“I think the Australian union wanted to develop Australian props,” he explained.

Pieretto has played just twice for Edinburgh in 2023/24, however, the 27-year-old prop is excited to take the field on Saturday.

"I come here to play," he asserted.

The 30-capped Pumas prop will join Lewis Ponini and Jay Fonokalafi in the ultimate make-shift starting front-row, with all three brought in mid-season amid the injury crisis.

Ponini replaces Hayden Thompson-Stringer, who suffered a grade three MCL knee injury.

The backline remains unchanged for the Waratahs, with Izaia Perese returning to the bench.

They'll face a Force side that has made minimal changes to the team that thumped the Drua in Perth.

Harry Hoopert starts in his 50th Super Rugby game after his successful injury return, whilst Wallaby Issak Fines-Leleiwasa returns via the reserves.

FORCE (1-15): Harry Hoopert, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Williams (c), Izack Rodda, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White, Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Bayley Kuenzle, George Poolman, Kurtley Beale

RESERVES: Feleti Kaitu’u, Marley Pearce, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Lopeti Faifua, Michael Wells, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Sam Spink, Henry O’Donnell

WARATAHS (1-15): Lewis Ponini, Jay Fonokalafi, Enrique Peiretto, Fergus Lee-Warner, Miles Amatosero, Lachlan Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Jed Holloway, Jake Gordon (c), Will Harrison, Dylan Pietsch, Lalakai Foketi, Joey Walton, Triston Reilly, Mark Nawaqanitawase

RESERVES: Ben Sugars, George Thorton, Brad Amituanai, Hugh Sinclair, Langi Gleeson, Jack Grant, Tane Edmed, Izaia Perese

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