Volavola 'earns' Folau's spot

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 09:02
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Ben Volavola has forced his way into the Waratahs starting line-up for their clash with the Brumbies after some impressive performances coming off the bench.

Ben Volavola has forced his way into the Waratahs starting line-up for their clash with the Brumbies after some impressive performances coming off the bench.

The exciting outside backwill start at fullback in the Australian derby, forcing Rugby League convert Israel Foloau onto the wing.

"Ben's just earned it - he's forced me to pick him by coming on and playing really well," said Waratahs coach Michael Cheika.  

"Ben's form, the way he's playing the game and the combination he's forging with Bernard Foley is something I just couldn't ignore."

Impressive off the bench in the first two rounds, the fullback is one of five changes to the starting XV to play the Brumbies this weekend. The other newcomer is Wallaby lock Sitaleki Timani who returns to the side after recovering from a cork.
 
Cheika has also made three positional changes to accommodate Volavola's arrival and the absence of No.8 Wycliff Palu, who is ruled out with an ankle injury. Lock Mitchell Chapman moves to blindside flank with captain Dave Dennis taking over at No.8 and Folau will start on the right wing in place of Tom Kingston.
 
Named amongst the replacements is Pat McCutcheon who makes his return to action after twelve months on the sidelines, following a serious ankle injury sustained in round three last season.  Singling him out for praise, Cheika said: "I see the way he prepares and trains and his attitude and I can't leave that type of players out of the team.  

"His attitude is one people should be inspired by because of the way he prepares himself. I want that type of character in the team."

Hooker Luke Holmes, scrumhalf Matt Lucas and wing Lachie Turner are also included on the bench, alongside Lopeti Timani, Paddy Ryan and Greg Peterson.

"These guys have all done well in the pre-season but I need to give them opportunities to play, it's not a case of anyone else having done anything wrong," said Cheika.

The match will also see Sekope Kepu and Dennis earn their 50th caps for the Waratahs.

Waratahs: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Greg Peterson, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Lachie Turner  

Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.40 (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Suva
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
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Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9
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