Waratahs to unleash Wallaby flank against Crusaders
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Waratahs have named their team to face the Crusaders in Round Three of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
Waratahs co-coaches Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore have made five changes to the starting XV that took the field against the Blues, while adding two new faces to the bench.
Jack Whetton and Jeremy Williams form a brand-new locking combination after Hugh Sinclair (shoulder) and Max Douglas (arm) were both ruled out with injuries suffered against the Blues.
Jack Dempsey will play his 50th Super Rugby match and returns to the starting side for the first time since Round Five (Super Rugby AU), replacing Charlie Gamble (calf) at openside flank and forms an exciting back-row combination alongside Lachie Swinton and Will Harris.
Waratahs co-coach Jason Gilmore was happy to have his Wallaby flank back to full health for his milestone match.
“Demmo played well off the bench last week against the Blues and obviously he had limited minutes. So, it’s been a gradual return for him, and he’s ready to start this weekend,” Gilmore said.
“It’s pretty exciting for him to play his 50th for the side and also against the Crusaders, so it will be a big occasion for him and his family.”
The Waratahs have again named an unchanged front row in Angus Bell, Dave Porecki and Harry Johnson-Holmes. Angus Bell has continued his strong form, scoring a try and making eight carries for 53m against the Blues last weekend.
In a huge boost for the side, Izaia Perese has recovered from a groin complaint that ruled him out of the match against the Blues, and partners Lalakai Foketi in the midfield.
Will Harrison has been named at fullback and will be joined in the back three by Jack Maddocks and Alex Newsome. Jason Gilmore was impressed with Harrison’s performance last week out of his preferred position of flyhalf.
“Harrison stiffened up our backfield last week with his defensive game. He’s a really competitive player and brings a lot to our attack with his ball carrying and his kicking game,” Gilmore said.
“Whilst he’s playing out of position a little bit, it gives us the chance to put our best players out on the field in the backline.”
The Waratahs co-coaches have reverted to a traditional five-three split on the bench welcoming back lock Sam Caird and hard running centre Tepai Moeroa to the side.
Waratahs: 15 Will Harrison, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Joe Cotton, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Darcy Breen, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Carlo Tizzano, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Tepai Moeroa, 23 Mark Nawaqanitawase.
Date: Saturday, May 29
Venue: Wollongong Showground, Wollongong
Kick-off: 15.05 (17.05 NZST; 05.05 GMT)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Matt Kellehan, James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie