A week of injuries and illnesses within the squad delayed the naming of the Waratahs to face the Blues but Head Coach Chris Hickey has finally confirmed that Kurtley Beale has been dropped to the bench.
Rugbyweek reports that flyhalf Daniel Halangahu will start his first match in almost two years, with Kurtley Beale named on the bench. Beale will arrive in Auckland today having been cleared to play by doctors after staying behind in Sydney with tonsillitis.
Changes have also been made in the front, second and back rows of the scrum.
After overcoming a virus, Dan Palmer will take his place in the starting side as tighthead prop, with Sekope Kepu set to take part in his first Super 14 match for 2009 from the bench.
It will be Palmer’s second match in the No.3 jersey, replacing Al Baxter who injured his calf last week in his 100th match for NSW. Jeremy Tilse remains on standby as the 23rd man.
Hickey has gone for the locking combination of Dean Mumm and Will Caldwell to take on the Blues, allowing Ben Mowen to return to the starting line-up as blindside flanker. Chris Thomson moves onto the bench alongside Luke Doherty who will play his 50th provincial Super Rugby match if he takes the field (QLD 23, WA 24, NSW 2*).
“We’ve had a fairly good idea with the way we wanted to go to take on the Blues, but injury and illness have had an effect on selection and travel,” said Hickey.
It’s good that Dan [Palmer] and Kurtley [Beale] have shown they’re coming through their illnesses – we wouldn’t put them out there if we didn’t think they could give us what we need.
“Daniel Halangahu gets an opportunity to start which I know he’s looking forward to. Daniel has been knocking on the door throughout the pre-season and the opening rounds of the competition, and he has a real opportunity to perform.”
1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood), 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta), 3. Dan Palmer (Southern Districts), 4. Dean Mumm (Sydney University), 5. Will Caldwell (Sydney University), 6. Ben Mowen (Randwick), 7. Phil Waugh [c] (Sydney University), 8. Wycliff Palu (Manly), 9. Luke Burgess (Sydney University), 10. Daniel Halangahu (Sydney University), 11. Lote Tuqiri (West Harbour), 12. Tom Carter (Sydney University), 13. Rob Horne (Southern Districts), 14. Lachie Turner (Eastwood), 15. Sam Norton-Knight (Northern Suburbs)
Reserves: 16. Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood), 17. Sekope Kepu (Randwick), 18. Chris Thomson (Warringah), 19. Luke Doherty* (Manly), 20. Brett Sheehan (Warringah), 21. Kurtley Beale (Northern Suburbs), 22. Timana Tahu (West Harbour)
* 50th provincial capTweet