Team News - Hooper to captain Waratahs in final home match

Thu, Jun 1, 2023, 1:59 AM
Waratahs Media
by Waratahs Media

Darren Coleman has bolstered his side by adding three Wallabies to his starting XV that lost to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Mahe Vailanu returns to the starting side replacing David Porecki. Vailanu is joined by Harry Johnson-Holmes and Nephi Leatigaga who will look to make his starting debut this weekend.

Ned Hanigan returns to the starting line-up, he will partner with Hugh Sinclair in the second row.

Wallabies back rower Lachlan Swinton make his return. Swinton has served his 7-week ban that occurred in round 7 against the Force.

He will be joined by Taleni Seu who moves to number eight and Langi Gleeson will revert to the bench.

Michael Hooper returns after being rested and will take over the captaincy from Jake Gordon. Hooper is leading the team in tackles this season (152) and will be looking to put on a performance in his final home match for the NSW Waratahs.

Harrison Goddard will make his starting debut this year as Gordon moves to the bench. Goddard will partner with Ben Donaldson in the halves.

The centres remain unchanged. Mosese Tuipulotu who led the team in tackles (17) last weekend will continue at inside centre, and Joey Walton will remain at outside centre.

The back three have been shuffled around in the absence on Max Jorgenson. Dylan Pietsch stays on the left wing and Izaia Perese will return and slot onto the right wing.

Perese will look to notch his 50th Super Rugby Cap this weekend (17 for QLD) against Moana Pasifika.

Mark Nawaqanitwase will step up and move from his usual wing position to fullback this weekend.

Head coach Darren Coleman has gone with the traditional five-three split with his finishers.

Tolu Latu and Tom Lambert both returning to the side, whilst in the backs Jake Gordon and Tane Edmed will look to finish the game strongly for the home side.

Darren Coleman said: “The team was disappointed with our Christchurch performance. A desire to perform more consistently and in front of our loyal home fans combined with a special night for numerous senior players, I’m confident you will see an energetic and motivated Tahs team.

“Moana are a dangerous proposition; they will farewell their Head Coach and be looking to ensure they don’t finish the season winless after they fell short by a last minute kick in Fiji. A performance many others haven’t been able to do in Fiji.

“They have big physical forwards & sone genuine tackle breaking backs which we will need to muscle up to hold.

“I’m really hoping to see a big Pacifika crowd out supporting both Moana and our Polynesian players. It will be a great game.”


1 Nephi Leatigaga (Randwick/ Manurewa Rugby Club/ Manurewa High School)

2 Mahe Vailanu (Gordon/ Melbourne Harlequins/ Auckland Grammar)

3 Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney Uni/ Cowra Eagles/ Merewether High School)

4 Ned Hanigan (Randwick / Coonamble Rams / St Joseph’s College)

5 Hugh Sinclair (Northern Suburbs/ Lindfield/ SHORE)

6 Lachlan Swinton (Sydney Uni/ Wahroonga Tigers/ Knox Grammar School)

7 Michael Hooper © (Manly/ Manly Roos/ St Pius X College)

8 Taleni Seu (Southern Districts/ Grammar Tech/ Onehunga High School)

9 Harrison Goddard (Gordon/ Dural/ Oakhill College)

10 Ben Donaldson (Randwick/ Clovelly Eagles/ Waverly College)

11 Dylan Pietsch (Randwick/ Leeton Phantoms/ Kings School)

12 Mosese Tuipulotu (Eastern Suburbs/ Southern Districts (VIC) / St Kevin’s College


13 Joey Walton (Gordon/ Warnervale Wildcats/ Wadalba High School)

14 Izaia Perese (Randwick/ Aspley State School/ Anglican Church Grammar)

15 Mark Nawaqanitawase (Eastwood/ St Patrick’s College)


16 Tolu Latu (Two Blues/ Canterbury Juniors/ South Sydney High School)

17 Tom Lambert (Sydney Uni/ West Juniors/ Trinity Grammar)

18 Archer Holtz (Eastern Suburbs/ The Kings School)

19 Charlie Gamble (Eastern Suburbs/ Saracens/ St Bede’s College)

20 Langi Gleeson (Manly/ Harbord Harlequins/ St Augustine’s College)

21 Jake Gordon (Sydney Uni/ Canterbury/ Blackwattle Bay)

22 Tane Edmed (Eastwood/ Trinity Grammar)

23 Harry Wilson (Eastwood/Harbord Harlequins/ St Augustine’s College)

Players unavailable for selection:

Angus Bell – Toe (Season)

Daniel Botha – Foot (Finals)

David Porecki – (Finals)

Jack Bowen- Aus. 20s

Jed Holloway – Quad (Finals)

Lalakai Foketi- Ankle (Finals)

Max Jorgensen- Knee

Te Tera Faulkner – Rib (Finals)

Teddy Wilson – Aus. 20s

Will Harris – (Finals)

Will Harrison - ACL (Season)

Zac Von Appen – TBC

Players Available for Shute Shield

Ben Dowling (Randwick)

Hunter Ward (Manly)

Nemani Nadolo (Two Blues)

Sateki Latu (Warringah)

Tiaan Tauakipulu (Gordon)

Zane Marolt (Easts)

Match Details

Saturday 3rd June

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-off: 7:35 PM (AEST)

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