Josh Holmes will start in place of injured Luke Burgess

Scrumhalf Josh Holmes will fill the boots of Luke Burgess in tomorrow night’s Super Rugby Qualifier against the Blues at Eden Park.

Luke Burgess was ruled out of the team yesterday after scans revealed a broken bone in his hand suffered at training on Tuesday. Holmes comes into the starting XV to replace Burgess, with Brendan McKibbin moving onto the bench. The switch at scrumhalf is one of a number of changes forced by injuries suffered in last Saturday’s 41-7 victory over the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium.

John Ulugia and Paddy Ryan will join Benn Robinson in the front row after Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) and Al Baxter (concussion) were both ruled out. Kane Douglas returns from suspension to partner Sitaleki Timani in the second row, while Pat O’Connor has been named on the bench.

Daniel Halangahu’s hamstring injury has forced a backline reshuffle with Kurtley Beale moving into flyhalf, Lachie Turner slotting into fullback and wing Sosene Anesi returns to the starting team. Australian Sevens captain Bernard Foley and Manly hooker Elvis Taione have been called from club Rugby to fill places on the bench.

Head coach Chris Hickey said that while the loss of some key players was a blow, the team’s ability to adapt in 2011 will hold them in good stead for tomorrow’s encounter.

“If you’ve had a settled line-up all year and then things are thrown around in a semi-final week it might cause a bit of panic,” said Hickey. “However we haven’t been able to field the same team week to week in almost four months, so we’re used to changing things around. We’ve been training since November and playing since February so everyone has confidence in each other, and the players who have come in from club Rugby have taken everything in their stride. The team trained well at the Captain’s Run on Eden Park this morning and I know they’re looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”

Super Rugby Qualifier
BLUES v HSBC WARATAHS
Friday 24 June 2011
Eden Park, Auckland NZL

Waratahs Starting XV
15. Lachie Turner (Eastwood)
14. Atieli Pakalani (Randwick)
13. Ryan Cross (Eastern Suburbs)
12. Tom Carter (Sydney University)
11. Sosene Anesi (Hunters Hill)
10. Kurtley Beale (Randwick)
9. Josh Holmes (Warringah)
8. Dave Dennis (Sydney University)
7. Phil Waugh [c] (Sydney University)
6. Dean Mumm (Sydney University)
5. Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts)
4. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts)
3. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University)
2. John Ulugia (Southern Districts)
1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood)

Reserves
16. Elvis Taione* (Manly)
17. Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University)
18. Pat O’Connor (Eastern Suburbs)
19. Chris Alcock (Eastwood)
20. Hugh Perrett (Eastwood)
21. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs)
22. Bernard Foley* (Sydney University)
* HSBC Waratahs & Super Rugby Debut

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