Waratahs forced to reshuffle pack for Bulls clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has been forced to reshuffle his depleted forward pack for this weekend’s Super Rugby crunch match with the Bulls in Pretoria.
Tom Staniforth has replaced suspended lock Jed Holloway, Lachlan Swinton will start at blindside flank in place of the injured Jack Dempsey and Ned Hanigan has shifted to No.8 with Michael Wells also out.
Despite being understrength, Gibson is challenging his pack to stand up to the Bulls’ brutes in what remains one of the toughest challenges in Super Rugby.
“As we know, if we’re going to compete in this game, we’re going to have to front up there physically,” he said.
Gibson has opted to start Nick Phipps at scrumhalf instead of Jake Gordon, believing Phipps’ up-tempo game will be needed in the helter skelter opening at altitude.
The Waratahs sit four points behind the Rebels in the Australian conference and face another big test next weekend against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ned Hanigan, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Hugh Sinclair, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Alex Newsome.
Date: Saturday, May 4
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT; 23.00 Sydney time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Christie du Preez