Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has continued to show faith in the players who have won three of the HSBC Waratahs’ first four matches this season, by making only one change to the 22-man squad to take on the Crusaders.
NSWRU media unit reports that Scrumhalf Josh Valentine has been selected on to the bench after some impressive performances for the HSBC Junior Waratahs, and if he takes the field will bring up his 50th Super Rugby cap (38 for Queensland).
Dean Mumm’s selection in the second row is the only change to the starting XV with Will Caldwell reverting back to the bench.
“We’ve been able to keep a fairly stable line-up on the field for the first four rounds and I think established combinations are going to be important on Friday,” said McKenzie.
The Waratahs scored a pre-season victory over the Crusaders in the Rotomahana Challenge, and while McKenzie said there were some positives to take out of that encounter, the result would mean little going into Friday’s match.
“Both sides were trying out a lot of things, a lot of players in the Rotomahana match, but we still managed to overcome an early deficit to finish strongly and win the match,” said McKenzie.
“We’ve taken that strong belief and attitude into all our matches this season and played them right till the death, and we’ve come away with three victories in tight matches.
“I’ve always said you need to play the Crusaders for the full 80 minutes if you’re going to be any chance of beating them and we know we’ve got the fitness to go with them right to the end.”
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 3 from 5:30pm (AEDT), while a full text call of the match can found on the HSBC Waratahs website at: http://www.nswrugby.com.au/FansStuff/LiveMatchCall/LiveMatchCall.aspx
Waratahs: 1. Sekope Kepu, 2. Adam Freier, 3. Matt Dunning, 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Dan Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. Phil Waugh [c], 8. Wycliff Palu, 9. Brett Sheehan, 10. Kurtley Beale, 11. Lote Tuqiri, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Ben Jacobs, 14. Alfi Mafi, 15. Lachie Turner.
Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Al Baxter, 18. Will Caldwell, 19. Beau Robinson, 20. Josh Valentine, 21. Sam Harris, 22. Rob Horne,
23rd Man – Benn Robinson