Sydney club wing gets Super break
Sydney club wing gets Super breakSHARE
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has backed Northern Suburbs wing Cam Crawford to make his Super Rugby debut for the Sydney franchise against the defending champion Chiefs in Sydney on Friday.
After impressing with his club form in recent weeks, Crawford, 24, is one of three changes to the starting team that travelled to Wellington two weeks ago.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and No.8 Wycliff Palu also return to the starting lineup – having both proven their fitness for their clubs in the Shute Shield last Saturday.
Still to finalise his replacements, Cheika has named an eight-man bench – including another newcomer in Sydney University lock Will Skelton.
He will finalise the replacements later.
A skilful and versatile fullback, Crawford helped Norths to a one-point victory over Warringah last Saturday.
After joining the club at the age of 18, he was plucked from grade by the Brumbies Academy in 2011 and made his Super Rugby debut for the Canberrians against the Force in 2012. The Sydney-born wing/fullback, who weighs in at an imposing 98kg and 193cm, finished as the Shute Shield's third highest try scorer for two years running (2010 and 2011).
Crawford will line up opposite Asaeli Tikoirotuma, who forms part of a potent backline.
With both teams coming off losses in their last rounds, the match looks set to provide a feast of running rugby, with flyhalves Bernard Foley and Aaron Cruden topping the tables in most of Super Rugby's attacking stats, including line breaks, line break assists, runs and run metres.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Peter Betham.
Date: Friday, April 19
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (21.40 NZ time; 09.40 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)