Waratahs name team to take on Drua

Wed, Feb 16, 2022, 5:55 AM

The NSW Waratahs have named their team to face the Fijian Drua in the opening match of the Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific competition.

NSW Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman has named three debutants in his matchday 23, with Geoff Cridge, Dylan Pietsch and Jamie Roberts all set to make their first Super Rugby appearance for the Waratahs.

There is just one change to the starting XV that impressed against the Reds in Roma last weekend, with Dave Porecki joining Angus Bell and Harry Johnson-Holmes in the front-row and Tom Horton moving to the bench.

Off-season recruits Geoff Cridge and Jed Holloway start in the second row while Lachlan Swinton, Charlie Gamble and Will Harris form an abrasive backrow.

Jake Gordon skippers the side once again in 2022 and joins the impressive Ben Donaldson in the halves.

Izaia Perese and Lalakai Foketi, fresh off a breakthrough 2021 campaign which earned Wallabies honours, line up in the midfield.

James Turner earns his spot on the left wing after impressing in the pre-season, while Alex Newsome will get the first crack at fullback.

Former Australia Seven’s star Dylan Pietsch lines up on the right wing, fulfilling his dream of playing Super Rugby.

“It’s pretty surreal, I tried to hold back my tears during the team meeting but didn’t really do a good job of it because I’ve wanted to play Super Rugby since I started at Leeton Phantoms when I was four,” Pietsch said.

“Playing Sevens was incredible, but this is something I’ve always dreamed of doing and it’s weird that I’m achieving it because not many people in my family get to do what they want in their life.”

Welsh international Jamie Roberts will add plenty of experience off the bench and is in line to play for his second Super Rugby side after playing for the Stormers in 2020.

Waratahs Team to Face Fijian Drua

  1. Angus Bell (Sydney Uni/ Hunters Hill/ Newington College)
  2. Davie Porecki (Manly/ Manly Roos/ Redlands)
  3. Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney Uni/ Cowra Eagles/ Merewether High School)Jed
  4. Jed Holloway (Southern Districts/ Yamba Buccaneers/ Waverly College)
  5. Geoff Cridge (West Harbour/ Darfield Rugby Club/ Christchurch Boys High)
  6. Lachlan Swinton (Sydney Uni/ Wahroonga Tigers/ Knox Grammar)
  7. Charles Gamble (Eastern Suburbs/ Saracens/ St Bede’s College)
  8. Will Harris (Eastern Suburbs/ Hunters Hill/ Scots College)
  9. Jake Gordon (Sydney Uni/ Canterbury/ Blackwattle Bay)
  10. Ben Donaldson (Randwick/ Clovelly Eagles/ Waverly College)
  11. James Turner (Norther Suburbs/ Drummoyne/ Newington)
  12. Lalakai Foketi (Manly/ Manly Roos/ Kings School)
  13. Izaia Perese (Randwick/ Aspley State School/ Anglican Church Grammar)
  14. Dylan Pietsch (Randwick/ Leeton Phantoms/ Kings School)
  15. Alex Newsome (Eastern Suburbs/ Glen Innes Elks/ St Joseph’s College)
  16. Tom Horton (Sydney Uni/ Mosman Whales/ St Joseph’s College)
  17. Te Tera Faulkner (Southern Districts/ Moorabin Rams/ Marist College Canberra)
  18. Tiaan Tauakipulu (Randwick/ Tenmore Bears/ St Kentigren College)
  19. Hugh Sinclair (Northern Suburbs/ Lindfield/ S.H.O.R.E)
  20. Carlo Tizzano (West Harbour/ UWA Rugby Club/ Trinity Grammar WA)
  21. Henry Robertson (Sydney Uni/ Scone Brumbies/ Kings School)
  22. Tane Edmed (Eastwood/ Trinity)
  23. Jamie Roberts (CRICC/ Rumney RFC/ Ysgol Glantaf)

Players unavailable for selection:

Archer Holz - Thigh (Round 3-4)

Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco – Hip (TBC)

Will Harrison – Shoulder (Round 2)

Mosese Tuipulotu – Knee (Round 11+)

Joey Walton – ACL (Season)

Michael Hooper – Foot (TBC)