The NSW Waratahs have named their team for their blockbuster clash with the Queensland Reds in the Semi-Final of the Buildcorp Super W.
Waratahs Head Coach Campbell Aitken has made three changes (two new players and one positional change) to his starting side that defeated the Reds at Eric Tweedale Stadium last Saturday.
Eva Karpani is the only change to the forward pack from last weekend and starts at tight-head prop in place of Bridie O’Gorman who reverts to the bench. Eva is joined in the front row by Emily Robinson and Natalie Delamere who scored a double in her first start for the Waratahs.
Campbell Aitken was impressed with his Delamere’s first start in a Waratahs jersey.
“I thought she was really good, she's still settling into the way that we want to play, but last week was certainly a huge step in the right direction,” Aitken said.
“Natalie brings more mobility into our tight five which we thought worked really well last weekend against the Reds.”
Sera Naiqama once again partners Kaitlan Leaney in the second row.
Piper Duck, Emily Chancellor, and skipper Grace Hamilton have been named together for the third consecutive week, forming a balanced and imposing back row.
Arabella McKenzie retains the playmaking duties for the side alongside Illiseva Batibasaga in the halves. McKenzie was outstanding last weekend against the Reds controlling the game brilliantly with some strong carrying, slick distribution, and a deft kicking game.
Georgina Friedrichs forms a new midfield combination with Nicole Nathan after Katrina Barker was ruled out with a shoulder complaint. Friedrichs was strong with the ball in hand last week, scoring the opening try after just five minutes.
Try-scoring machine Mahalia Murphy (nine tries in three matches) returns to the starting side for the first time since Round 3 against the Rebels while Margot Vella fresh off a double last week against the Reds joins Tatum Bird on the wings.
NSW Waratahs Head Coach Campbell Aitken was delighted to have his strike back available for selection.
“I think Mahalia’s reputation speaks for itself,” Aitken said.
“She brings us speed and experience in communication, and generally everyone lifts when she's on the field, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her running around.”
WARATAHS 23 TO TAKE ON THE REDS
1 Emily Robinson 2 Natalie Delamere 3 Asoiva (Eva) Karpani 4 Kaitlan Leaney 5 Sera Naiqama 6 Piper Duck 7 Emily Chancellor 8 Grace Hamilton © 9 Iliseva Batibasaga 10 Arabella McKenzie 11 Tatum Bird 12 Georgina Friedrichs 13 Nicole Nathan 14 Margot Vella 15 Mahalia Murphy
16. Penelope Leiataua 17. Adriana Talakai 18. Bridie O'Gorman 19. Sabine Blakeman 20. Ella Koster 21. Pauline Piliae 22. Lori Cramer 23. Layne Morgan
Date: Thursday 14 April
Buildcorp Super W Semi-Final NSW v QLD (6:05pm)
Location: Eric Tweedale Stadium, Granville
Live on Stan Sport