Waratahs shuffle their pack

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 06:41
Large sekope kepu waratahs

The Waratahs have made four changes to their starting forward pack for this Friday's home clash against the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney.

The Waratahs have made four changes to their starting forward pack for this Friday's home clash against the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney.

Coach Michael Cheika has selected Sekope Kepu to start at loosehead prop. New South Wale's biggest ever player, Will Skelton, returns at lock, pushing Jacques Potgieter to flank and Dave Dennis to No.8.

Benn Robinson slips back to the bench to allow Wallaby prop Kepu his first run on start of 2014.

"I just wanted to try this combination, I thinks Keps has played well and was unlucky to miss out in the first place. He's done what he needs to do to force his way back in the side," said Cheika. Kepu isn't about to let his coach down, promising. "I'll leave no stone unturned to get it right."

He packs down alongside Paddy Ryan and hooker Tatafu Polota Nau, who will become the sixth most capped Waratahs player in history, when he takes to the field on Friday night.  

In the reshuffled pack, Skelton will join the durable Kane Douglas at lock, whilst the loose trio will comprise blindside flank Potgieter, Michael Hooper, who earns his 50th Super Rugby cap at openside, and skipper Dave Dennis at No.8.

If he comes on from the bench, Wycliff Palu will earn his 99th New South Wales state cap against Melbourne.

"We've got to make sure we use Cliff correctly and he'll definitely contribute at the back end of the game," stated the coach.

Scrumhalf Nick Phipps takes on his old club for the first time in Super Rugby, since joining the Waratahs at the start of this season.

"I've got a lot of friends down there but it won't be any different to playing any other Australian franchise," claimed the number nine.

In the midfield, Bernard Foley will wear the 10 jumper and Kurtley Beale, also lining up against his old club, will wear number 12.  Adam Ashley-Cooper is at outside centre and the back three of Peter Betham, Alofa Alofa and Israel Folau remains the same.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.  
Replacements  - from: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Benn Robinson, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Pat McCutcheon, 25 Jonno Lance.  

Date: Friday, March 21
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4