Young centre Rob Horne has been switched to play on the wing for the NSW Waratahs in Saturday’s must-win Super 14 clash with the Sharks in Durban.
Rugbyheaven Aus reports that coach Chris Hickey has stuck with Timana Tahu at outside centre alongside Kurtley Beale and moved regular No.13 Horne out to replace Peter Playford on the wing as he returns from a hamstring injury.
In the other major change, Luke Burgess returns to start at halfback ahead of Brett Sheehan.
Winger Lote Tuqiri (knee) and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (ankle) have both been selected to start with coach Chris Hickey expecting them to be fit despite leaving the field against the Cheetahs last weekend due to injury.
“We’ve taken the load off Lote and Tatafu in the early part of the week, but the assessment on them both has been really positive so we’re fully expecting them to be available,” said Hickey.
“Lote’s a big game player so it would be hard to keep him off the park for such a big game and Tatafu has been up there with our best all year, particularly in the physical encounters with big forward packs.”
Horne, who has been out for almost a month after suffering his injury against the Bulls in round nine, will be having his first start on the wing.
“When Rob went off against the Bulls it was assessed as a 2-3 week injury and it ended up being three weeks,” said Hickey.
“He’s come along pretty well though, and he was put through some pretty demanding activities at training earlier today so were going with him out wide.
“You have to remember Rob’s still only 19 so you definitely don’t risk someone with injury so early in their career; you have to ensure their rehab is complete.
“With Burgo (Burgess), we just think he’s going to have the biggest impact given our opposition.
“It’s in no way a reflection on Brett Sheehan’s form because he’s been fantastic for us over the past couple of weeks.”
Sam Norton-Knight was the only player not considered due to injury.
“Sam’s back is coming along well but not to the point of being available for Saturday,” said Hickey.
“As long as he looks like being available for the Lions (in round 14) we’ll keep him in South Africa with us to continue his rehab.”
15. Lachie Turner, 14. Rob Horne, 13. Timana Tahu, 12. Kurtley Beale, 11. Lote Tuqiri, 10. Daniel Halangahu, 9. Luke Burgess, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Phil Waugh (capt), 6. Ben Mowen, 5. Will Caldwell, 4. Dean Mumm, 3. Al Baxter, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson.
16. Damien Fitzpatrick , 17. Sekope Kepu, 18. Chris Thomson, 19. Luke Doherty, 20. Brett Sheehan, 21. Peter Playford, 22. Tom Carter.