The HSBC Waratahs will be striving for back-to-back victories when they take on the Western Force this Saturday at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The home side is coming off a 28-9 win over the Melbourne last weekend, a result which ensured they didn’t concede a try against the Rebels in either of their 2011 fixtures.
After a round eight 31-3 victory over the Force in Perth four weeks ago, the HSBC Waratahs will be hoping they can reproduce the performance which allowed the backline to run in four unanswered tries to score a bonus point victory.
If past matches between these teams at the SFS is anything to go by, it is set to be a tight encounter. In 2007 the two sides played out a 16-all draw while in 2009 the Force recorded their only ever victory against the HSBC Waratahs by a solitary point.
The HSBC Waratahs go into the match minus Tatafu Polota-Nau who has been rested from this weekend’s match after suffering a head knock against the Rebels.
His place has been taken by John Ulugia who makes his second appearance in the starting XV this year. Ulugia’s backup will be Ben Roberts who is poised to make his Super Rugby debut from the bench.
In recent years Roberts has enjoyed a dogfight for the Sydney University No.2 jersey with Nathan Charles who will start in the front row for the visitors.
The Force have lost international fullback Cameron Shepherd which has forced a reshuffle in their backline.
Pat Dellit has moved to fullback with Mitch Inman returning from injury at outside centre.
A reshuffled back row sees Matt Hodgson come back into the starting line-up on the blindside of the scrum and Richard Brown move to No.8. Ben McCalman will start from the bench alongside Tim Fairbrother and Tom Hockings who have both been added to the reserves list this weekend.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 3 and Fox Sports 3HD from 7:30pm AEST. ABC will also broadcast the match on ABC Grandstand Digital Radio Sydney and online at www.abc.net.au <http://www.abc.net.au> .
Waratahs starting XV:
15 Kurtley Beale (Randwick)
14 Lachie Turner (Eastwood)
13 Ryan Cross (Eastern Suburbs)
12 Tom Carter (Sydney University)
11 Sosene Anesi (Hunters Hill)
10 Berrick Barnes (Sydney University)
9 Luke Burgess (Sydney University)
8 Ben Mowen (Randwick)
7 Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University)
6 Dave Dennis (Sydney University)
5 Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts)
4 Dean Mumm [c] (Sydney University)
3 Sekope Kepu (Randwick)
2 John Ulugia (Southern Districts)
1 Benn Robinson (Eastwood)
16 Ben Roberts*^ (Sydney University)
17 Al Baxter (Northern Suburbs)
18 Kane Douglas (Southern Districts)
19 Chris Alcock (Eastwood)
20 Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs)
21 Daniel Halangahu (Sydney University)
22 Tom Kingston (Sydney University)
* HSBC Waratahs debut
^ Super Rugby debut