THE HSBC Waratahs have made one change to the starting XV for Friday night’s round three clash with the Crusaders at Trafalgar Park, Nelson.
Berrick Barnes was taken out of the selection frame with medical staff preferring him to spend a week on the sidelines after suffering a head knock in the Tahs’ 30-6 victory over the Queensland Reds on Saturday. Daniel Halangahu moves into the No.10 jersey which he wore on nine occasions in 2010 including a run of five straight victories which tied the Tahs’ record for most consecutive Super Rugby wins.
“The players’ welfare is always our primary concern, and after checking him out after training this morning we think it’s best to keep Berrick out this week,” said head coach Chris Hickey. “This is definitely a situation where we need to err on the side of caution and we’re lucky to have someone of Daniel’s experience to step straight in.”
When Halangahu takes the field it will be his 41st Super Rugby cap at flyhalf which equals the NSW record currently held by Manny Edmonds. Afa Pakalani, who scored two tries in the opening trial match of 2011 against the Fiji Warriors, moves onto the bench and will make his Super Rugby debut should he take the field.
The only other change to the match day squad sees Pat McCutcheon come onto the bench for the first time in 2011, in place of Chris Alcock. McCutcheon returned to Rugby last week with a solid hit-out for the HSBC Junior Waratahs in the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup and is ready to return to Super Rugby after sustaining a back injury in the off-season.
“’Cutch’ had a really big year in 2010; he captained Australian Sevens, made his Super Rugby debut, represented Australian Barbarians, played club Rugby for Sydney Uni, went to the Commonwealth Games and then went on the Spring Tour,” said Hickey. “He went back home to the farm over summer and it all probably caught up with him, but he’s ready to go now and I know he has his sights set on returning to the starting XV where he finished in 2011.”
Phil Waugh will take his place in the team after sustaining a biceps injury against the Reds, and in doing so will become the first player to captain NSW 50 times at Super Rugby level.
Prop Al Baxter has been selected to make his 118th appearance for NSW which takes him equal with Chris Whitaker on the all-time list. Only Phil Waugh, who makes his 130th appearance on Friday, has more state caps in the 129-year history of NSW Rugby.
Former Western Force and Northland lock Pat O’Connor will travel to New Zealand with the team as 23rd man.
The only time NSW has played at Trafalgar Park was a 13-4 victory over Nelson in 1894. The HSBC Waratahs fly to Nelson via Auckland tomorrow morning ahead of Friday’s match.
CRUSADERS v HSBC WARATAHS
Friday 4 March 2011 (Kick-off 7:35pm NZT, 5:35pm AEDT)
Trafalgar Park, Nelson. New Zealand
15. Kurtley Beale (Randwick)
14. Lachie Turner (Eastwood)
13. Rob Horne (Southern Districts)
12. Tom Carter (Sydney University)
11. Drew Mitchell (Balmain)
10. Daniel Halangahu (Sydney University)
9. Luke Burgess (Sydney University)
8. Ben Mowen (Randwick)
7. Phil Waugh [C] (Sydney University) # 50th Super Rugby match as NSW Captain
6. Dave Dennis (Sydney University)
5. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts)
4. Dean Mumm (Sydney University)
3. Al Baxter~ (Northern Suburbs)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau** (Parramatta)
1. Sekope Kepu (Randwick)
16. Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood)
17. Benn Robinson (Eastwood)
18. Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts)
19. Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University)
20. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs)
21. Ryan Cross (Eastern Suburbs)
22. Afa Pakalani^* (Randwick)
23rd Pat O’Connor (Eastern Suburbs)
^ NSW State Debut
* Super Rugby Debut
~ 118th NSW Super Rugby Cap (Phil Waugh 129*, Chris Whitaker 118)
** 69th NSW Super Rugby Cap (=10th with Brendan Cannon)