The NSW Waratahs have welcomed back three key players, with Izaia Perese, Will Harris and Angus Bell all in the match day 23 for Saturday’s match against the table topping QLD Reds at Stadium Australia.
Star off-season recruit Izaia Perese returns to the side at inside centre, after serving his three-match suspension for a dangerous tackle on Hunter Paisami in Round 1.
NSW Waratahs assistant coach Jason Gilmore was thrilled to have the talented trio all available, each offering something different to the side.
“Energy, they’ll bring plenty of energy” Gilmore said.
“Izaia’s obviously a super aggressive, super energetic back, great on his feet so he’ll be a really welcomed addition to us this week.”
Will Harris’ return has come at the perfect time, with both Lachlan Swinton and Jack Dempsey both unavailable due to foot injuries suffered against the Rebels.
The talented backrower has been named at his preferred position at No.8 for this weekend and Gilmore is excited to see what Harris can offer the side.
“Willy Harris has probably flown under the radar the last 12 months, just with injury he hasn’t been able to get a consecutive run.” Gilmore said.
“But if you look back to his trial form against the Reds at Narrabri, I thought he carried the football strongly and was super aggressive for us.
“So, from Will, we’re looking for good impact both sides of the ball.”
Up front Angus Bell returns after missing the past two matches with an ankle complaint and will bring plenty of impact off the bench for the Waratahs set piece, against one of the most formidable scrums in the competition.
“The Reds bring a strong scrum, so we need our best scrummagers available, so it’s great to have Belly back at set-piece” Gilmore sai
Angus Bell reiterated Gilmore in the challenge the Reds pose at the set piece.
“The scrum is always a big area against the Reds.
They’ve got the likes of Nella, Brandon, Mafi, Zander and Hoopert so they’ve got basically two world class front-rows.” Bell said.
“They are the scrum in the tournament right now that everyone is wary of, so we’ve definitely prepared this week to match their level this weekend.”
The Waratahs will wear their mid-2000’s inspired jersey against the Reds for heritage round this Saturday night.
NSW Waratahs v QLD Reds
Saturday 27 March, Stadium Australia – 7:45 Kick-off