Four debutants for Waratahs

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:13
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Four players will make their Waratahs Super Rugby debuts against the Stormers in Sydney on Saturday.

Former NSW and Australia Schoolboys midfielder Lalakai Foketi, former Australian Under-20 captain and lock Tom Staniforth, his second-row partner and Wallaby Rob Simmons and 2017 Wallaby Curtis Rona are the new faces in the starting XV.

Openside flanker Michael Hooper will lead the Waratahs in his 81st Super Rugby game for the franchise on Saturday.

Waratahs Coach Daryl Gibson said the team is ready to play.

"The game against the Stormers will be a physical contest and it's a chance for our guys to show what they have, and what we have been focusing on delivering," Gibson said.

"The kind of start we had against the Rebels last week was too slow for my liking, and we cannot afford to do that against the Stormers. We will need to up the tempo."

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.          
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.

Date: Saturday, February 24
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 (08.45 GMT; 10.45 SA Time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), William Houston (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
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Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23