Waratahs - more experienced team for Chiefs trial - Green and Gold Rugby
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Waratahs – more experienced team for Chiefs trial

Waratahs – more experienced team for Chiefs trial

The Waratahs have named a more experienced team for their second 2016 trial, against the Chiefs at the Rotorua International Stadium, tomorrow at 2pm AEST.

Seven Wallabies at the recent Rugby World Cup [RWC] will start the game as will ex-All Black Zac Guildford who gets his second trial at fullback.

New THP Angus Ta’avao teams up with Jeremy Tilse who is having his second run-on gig at LHP, with hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau having his first. Benn Robinson and Paddy Ryan are on the bench, but expect them to wear the 1 and 3 jerseys against the Highlanders in the third trial.

Maul time at Kippax Field

Maul time at Kippax Field

Will Skelton runs-on again at lock, paired this time with Dean Mumm—and Jack Dempsey moves from 7 to 6. Michael Hooper captains the team at 7 in his first 2016 trial.

Since Cliff Palu is underdone and both Jed Holloway and Dave Dennis had head knocks, new recruit Brad Wilkin, a flanker, will play at no. 8.

Three Wallaby RWC backs have their first trial game, as run-on players: scrumhalf Nick Phipps, plus Kurtley Beale and Rob Horne—but Beale will wear the 10 jersey and Horne the 13.

League recruit Reece Robinson gets his second run-on gig as the right winger.

Waratahs’ team

Forwards: 1. Jeremy Tilse, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4.Dean Mumm, 5. Will Skelton, 6. Jack Dempsey, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Brad Wilkin.

Backs: 9. Nick Phipps, 10. Kurtley Beale, 11. Matt Carraro, 12. David Horwitz,13. Rob Horne, 14. Reece Robinson, 15. Zac Guildford

Reserves: 16. Tolu Latu, 17. Benn Robinson, 18. Paddy Ryan, 19. Senio Toleafoa, 20. Ned Hanigan, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Andrew Kellaway, 24. Jake Gordon, 25. Harry Jones, 28. Hugh Roach, 29. Matt Sandell.

After the Rotorua trial the Waratahs’ squad will stay in NZ, in camp, and will meet the Highlanders in their third trial, at Queenstown on Friday Feb 19th.

Players from the core playing squad who do not travel to NZ are Palu, Dennis, Holloway – and Jim Stewart (in rehab).

Israel Folau, who is running freely in hit-outs now, will join the camp in NZ, as will Sam Lousi, and Bernard Foley.

Izzy running freely now

Izzy running freely now

After training at Kippax Field yesterday and asked what his favourite position was, Kurtley Beale said there were a lot of players putting their hands up for several positions, and said he would play where the coaches wanted him to, but added:

Bernard and I have struck up a really good combination in the 10 and 12 for the last couple of years, so I’d like to cement myself there…

 
It is expected that when Israel Folau is fully fit he will get a chance to play outside centre, a position he covets. In that case Beale could play fullback, a natural position for him; or given that Guildford is being trialled at fullback, Zac could play there, with Beale at 12 and Horne on the wing.

Kurtley Beale - could play in a few positions this year

Kurtley Beale – could play in a few positions this year

Beale said:

We had [Folau] playing in the front line a couple of times [last year] especially off set pieces and things worked.[…] I’d definitely like to push myself to the back [when that happens].

 
When asked about going overseas Kurtley revealed:

If the opportunity comes up, I’d love to express my interest, but my focus now is purely on the pre-season and working hard with the team and getting ready for the Reds for Round 1.

 
Will Skelton was struggling in the summer heat when he came back after his pectoral operation and admitted he wasn’t where he would like to be in his fitness.

The lungs were hurting but that’s pre-season footie. There’s no fitness like match fitness. I want to play the bulk of both [trial games in New Zealand].

 
He may get his wish – he is having his second start, out of two, tomorrow; what chance for a third next week???

Will Skelton - a tall order for interviewers

Will Skelton – a tall order for interviewers

 Photos by Lee Grant

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NSW Waratahs

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