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Waratahs have a new captain

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 07:38
Pat-mccutcheon-waratahs Ollie-atkins-h_s Will-skelton-dog630
Ten Wallabies absent
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Pat McCutcheon will lead the Waratahs for the first time when they take on the Western Force in a Super Rugby encounter in Perth this Sunday.

The 25-year-old breakaway will lead a new-look NSW team, with lock Ollie Atkins making his Tahs debut and three other forwards - Will Skelton, Lopeti Timani and Jed Holloway - making their first starts of the season.

The match could also see the return to action of Damien Fitzpatrick, with the hooker named on an extended bench for the first time this season after 15 months on the sidelines following surgery for an ACL injury sustained against the Rebels back in Round Two of 2012.

The absence of the team's 10 Wallabies and six injured players has also created opportunities for five up-and-coming club players to make their NSW debuts.

Called into the squad this week are Parramatta lock Adam Coleman, Northern Districts' flank AJ Gilbert, Randwick duo Richard Aho (prop) and Terrence Hepetema (outside back) and Sydney University prop Sam Talakai.

All are named on an extended bench, with the final matchday 22 to be confirmed later in the week.

McCutcheon, the Waratahs' current club captain, will become the 164th player to captain NSW when he leads the team out at nib Stadium on Sunday.

A member of the Waratahs pathway since 2006, the Narromine-born talent was named captain of the Australian Sevens team in the 2009/10 IRB Series before being called up for Super Rugby duty.

After making his NSW Super Rugby debut late in the 2010 season, he went on to represent Australian Barbarians against England and finished a stellar season by captaining Australia at the Commonwealth Games and earning selection on the Wallabies year-end tour of Hong Kong and Europe.

He added nine more Super Rugby caps in 2011, before missing most of 2012 with an ankle injury that sidelined him until the early stages of the 2013 campaign.

He will be assisted by vice-captains Jeremy Tilse and Bernard Foley.

Those unavailable for selection include Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu, Rob Horne, Berrick Barnes, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau (all in the Wallaby squad), along with injured players Tatafu Polota Nau (broken arm), Greg Peterson (dislocated shoulder), Mitchell Chapman (medial ligament), Sitaleki Timani (broken thumb), Michael Hodge (torn hamstring), Lachie Turner (broken leg).

Waratahs: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Tom Kingston, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Pat McCutcheon (captain), 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements - from: Richard Aho, Luke Holmes, Adam Coleman, Liam Winton, AJ Gilbert, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Terrence Hepetema.

Date: Sunday, June 9
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 14.05 AWST (16.05 AEST; 06.05 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees:  Ed Martin (Australia), Richard Goswell (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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