Waratahs' poor luck with injuries continues
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Waratahs have named their team to face the Highlanders in Round four of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
Waratahs co-coaches Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore have been forced to make fives changes to the starting XV that took the field against the Crusaders.
The Waratahs poor luck with injuries has continued with their three Wallaby props Angus Bell, Harry Johnson-Holmes and Te Tera Faulkner all ruled out late in the week.
Dave Porecki will now pack down alongside Darcy Breen and Andrew Tuala in the front row.
Carlo Tizzano returns to the starting team for the first time in the Trans-Tasman competition, with Will Harris dropping to the bench and Jack Dempsey reverting to his preferred position of No.8.
Whitaker is hoping Carlo Tizzano can provide a physical presence for the Waratahs forwards.
“Carlo gives us a bit more physicality there, he’s someone who makes a lot of tackles and is hard on the ball,” Whitaker said.
“The Highlanders are a big team, so we need to try and match them physically, so Carlo gives us a bit of muscle in the middle.”
Will Harrison returns to flyhalf, with Ben Donaldson ruled out with a groin injury suffered late in the first half against the Crusaders, and partners Jake Gordon in the halves for the first time since Round Seven of Super Rugby AU.
Izaia Perese and Lalakai Foketi continue their impressive partnership in the midfield, with Perese having his best game of the season last week, scoring a try and making two linebreaks and 10 tackle busts against the Crusaders.
The Waratahs co-coaches have reverted to a six-two split on the bench with two players set to make play their first match of the season for the Waratahs.
Robbie Abel has been named at reserve hooker, while new recruit Rahboni Warren-Vosayco is set to make his Waratahs debut off the bench.
“Rahboni’s a creative guy and a natural footy player. He played 40 minutes for Southern Districts on the weekend, so he had a good hit out and played some good footy,” Whitaker said.
“He’s excited to get back into it after being in Japan and then quarantine for a couple of weeks, so he’s been working hard to get into the team.
“He’s a very skilful player and there’s going to be some excitement when he gets the ball.”
Waratahs: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Darcy Breen, 2 David Porecki, 1 Andrew Tuala.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Chris Talakai, 18 TBC, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Will Harris, 21 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 22 Jack Grant, 23 Tane Edmed.
Date: Saturday, June 5
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 AEST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: James Doleman, Jono Brendin
TMO: Chris Hart