Blockbuster midfield for Waratahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson has loaded his team with Wallabies for their Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes in Sydney,
Karmichael Hunt will pull on the sky blue jersey for the first time in Super Rugby.
The 32-year-old, who has six Wallaby caps, will start in the centres alongside returning veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Youngsters Rory O’Connor and Lachlan Swinton will start on the bench, looking to get their first Super Rugby cap. The other new face on the bench is Chris Talakai
“Karmichael’s inclusion allows us the ability to manage the workload of Kurtley [Beale] who was the Waratahs highest minute player in 2018. KB will get an extra week to prepare for the season ahead,” said Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson.
“This is a new approach for Australian rugby teams, rotating players and managing their world loads leading into a World Cup campaign.
“This is why we ensured we had depth in our squad so we have the flexibility while remaining competitive,” he said.
Gibson also gave praise to the players who are in line to make their Super Rugby debuts.
“It’s pleasing to also have potential Super Rugby debutants in Rory [O’Connor], Chris [Talkai] and Lachy [Swinton] among our 23 who have all earned their spots given their efforts throughout our pre-season,” he said.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Lachlan Swinton, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Cam Clark.
Date: Saturday, February 16
Venue: Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZ time; 08.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)