Folau unleashed on Reds

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:51
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Israel Folau will make his Super Rugby debut on Saturday when he pulls on the Waratahs No.15 jersey against the Reds.

Israel Folau will make his Super Rugby debut on Saturday when he pulls on the Waratahs No.15 jersey against the Reds.

Alongside him, in-form youngster Tom Kingston earns a spot on the left wing with Wallaby Drew Mitchell completing the back three.  

Flyhalf Bernard Foley recovers from an ankle injury to guide the backline that also features Adam Ashley-Cooper and Tom Carter.

Up front, prop Jeremy Tilse earns his maiden Super Rugby start, completing an otherwise all-Wallaby pack.

Now in his eighth season with NSW, the 26-year-old prop's trial form made it hard for head coach Michael Cheika to overlook him.

"All the front rower forwards have made it very difficult for me to pick a starting team," said Cheika.

"Since I've been here Jeremy has been working like crazy, he's strong and fit and he's hungry. We need guys competing against each other to get us hardened for when we go out into the enemy territory, like on Saturday."

The side will be led for the first time by new skipper Dave Dennis who becomes the 164th player to captain NSW since 1882 and the 17th in Super Rugby.

The game is also head coach Cheika's first in charge but the former teammate of Reds' coach Ewen McKenzie says he is relishing the prospect of facing up to arch-rivals Queensland.

"We know we're going into the lion's den for our first game but we're looking forward to it. There's a lot of self belief in the team," he said.

With three trial matches under his belt, Cheika believes Folau's past experiences from league and AFL will help him cope with the big occasion.

"It'll be a pressure cooker atmosphere but he's experienced that before so he'll be ready for it.

"A big part of going away from home is getting the fans against you and you've got to try and silence them by what you do on the field."

On the bench, Cheika has opted for a five-two forward-backs split, relying on halves Matt Lucas and Ben Volavola to cover the backline. If Lucas takes the field, he could make his HSBC Waratahs debut opposite his older brother Ben, the Reds scrumhalf.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola.

Date: Saturday, February 23
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18.40 (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28