Sam Norton-Knight has been selected at fullback for the HSBC Waratahs’ Friday night clash with the Cheetahs at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Wallaby utility back has been out of action since straining his quadricep in the pre-season, but will take his place in the Waratahs’ starting line-up this week after a frustrating couple of months on the sideline.
The NSWRU Media Unit reports that head Coach Ewen McKenzie said Norton-Knight had done enough to prove his fitness and that he would be ready for the task ahead on Friday.
“We expect a lot out of Norto – he’s an extremely talented player, which is why they used him to replace [Stephen] Larkham in the Wallabies against Wales last year,” said McKenzie.
“He played some really good footy for us at the back last year as well as at No.10 and on the wing, so he’s a good, versatile guy to have in the starting XV.”
After debuting for the Wallabies in 2007, Norton-Knight went on to be one of the players of the tournament in the Mazda Australian Rugby Championship, scoring tries in seven straight games to help the Central Coast Rays to the title.
Norton-Knight’s selection sees Lachie Turner move to the wing, while Alfi Mafi drops out of the squad.
Wallaby Prop Benn Robinson also makes a return to the front row after some impressive performances with the Junior Waratahs, while Daniel Halangahu has been named in the 22 for the first time since sustaining an ankle syndesmosis injury in the pre-season trial against the Reds on Australia Day.
Starting XV: 1. Benn Robinson, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 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. Lachie Turner, 15. Sam Norton-Knight.
Reserves: 16. Adam Freier, 17. Al Baxter, 18. Will Caldwell, 19. Beau Robinson, 20. Josh Valentine, 21. Daniel Halangahu, 22. Rob Horne.