The Tahs are coming off a bye week

Benn Robinson will lead an unchanged Waratahs side for the third match running as NSW head to Perth for a crucial clash with the Western Force.

“It took a number of weeks to get this 22 together,” said Head Coach Michael Foley.  “In our performance against the Sharks, we showed what we are capable of. There were some good signs against the Chiefs but there were areas to adjust too and we’ve worked hard on those over the past two weeks.”

A win on Friday is crucial to the side’s hopes of moving up the Australian Conference table as the second half of the season beckons.  With 17 points from seven rounds, the Waratahs sit equal second alongside the Reds and two points adrift of the Brumbies. Only a bonus point and a bye separate them from the bottom-placed Force.

“Derby games are always intense affairs and there’s a lot at stake over the next month,” said Foley of the Australian Conference.

The team will be hoping for an away win to nullify the loss inflicted on them when the sides last met four weeks ago in Sydney, a match Foley describes as the team’s “worst performance”.

“We are very determined to push forward with a much better performance this week,” he said.  “The harder we work to get in position and the more we offer the better we play as a team.”

Coming off a bye week, the Waratahs will be looking forward to Friday’s encounter and the chance to put the last two weeks’ training into action.  Having used the first part of the week to recover, the players put in two hard training days before having the weekend with their families.  Come Monday it was back on the training paddock for another solid two days’ training.

Starting XV:
15. Bernard Foley
14. Tom Kingston
13. Rob Horne
12. Tom Carter
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper
10. Berrick Barnes (VC)
9.    Brendan McKibbin
8.    Wycliff Palu
7.    Chris Alcock
6.    Dave Dennis
5.    Kane Douglas
4.    Dean Mumm
3.    Sekope Kepu
2.    Tatafu Polota-Nau
1.    Benn Robinson (C)

16. John Ulugia
17. Paddy Ryan
18. Sitaleki Timani
19. Lopeti Timani
20. Jono Jenkins
21. Sarel Pretorius
22. Daniel Halangahu