Folau back - with permission

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:53
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Israel Folau will make his long-awaited return when the Waratahs face the Bulls on Saturday in Sydney.

Israel Folau will make his long-awaited return when the Waratahs face the Bulls on Saturday in Sydney.
 
After being selected to play the Force last week, and then controversially withdrawn by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), now Folau will make his first start since the Waratahs' 32-8 win over the Rebels on March 21.
 
An ARU spokesman told the Australian media that Folau would be available for selection against the Bulls, and that they will not block him playing in the match.
 
The fullback, who has scored eight tries in four games so far this season, has been absent for the last three games with a throat injury, after being rested for the matches against the Sharks and the Stormers on the South African tour before being withdrawn last week. 
 
After being cleared by the Waratahs medical staff to play, Folau hasn’t missed a beat in the physical training sessions leading up to this weekend’s game and replaces Jonno Lance - who drops to the bench.
 
The backline remains otherwise unchanged, with Rob Horne and Cam Crawford holding their places on the wings, and Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper continuing their partnership in the centres.  
 
Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley line up alongside each other at scrumhalf and flyhalf for the eighth game in a row in 2014.
 
A strong performance in the scrums in the last two games has seen Waratahs head coach Cheika stick with the all-Wallaby starting front row of Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota Nau and Sekope Kepu. 
 
After a impressive display last week, Will Skelton again partners Kane Douglas in the second row.
 
Jacques Potgieter will start at blindside flank against his former teammates and is joined in the loose trio by regular starters Michael Hooper and captain Dave Dennis, while Wycliff Palu takes a spot on the bench after returning from injury.
 
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro.
 
Date: Saturday, April 19
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kickoff: 19:40 (09:40 GMT, 11.40 SAST)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant Referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
 
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Brumbies 8 5 0 3 21
Waratahs 7 3 0 4 17
Reds 8 1 1 6 8
Force 9 1 0 8 6
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Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 8 5 0 3 26
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 24
Blues 7 3 1 3 16
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Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 28
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
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Lions 8 6 0 2 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4