A STRING of familiar faces will be back in the NSW Waratahs jumper, along with Berry’s Will Miller, for the team’s final pre-season match at Brookvale Oval on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Thursday.
Back for the first time in 2018 is captain Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Jed Holloway and Rob Simmons.
NSW Waratahs Coach Daryl Gibson said the return of the Wallabies would add an extra edge to the game against the Melbourne Rebels.
“We are at that point where we need a game to see where we are at and this is a perfect opportunity to test ourselves against our Australian Conference rivals,” Gibson said.
“We have learnt some good lessons from the game against the Highlanders a couple of weeks back and the Brisbane Global Tens tournament.
“What I am looking for in Thursday’s trial is a continuation of our adaptation to our defence systems and being a team that’s tough to score against.
“Also, our attack needs to be more comfortable holding onto the ball and applying pressure to our opposition.
“Thursday is also another opportunity to test combinations and for players to say ‘pick me’ ahead of our first home game against the Stormers next weekend.”
The match, which will be played in four 20 minute quarters with a standard 10 minute half-time break, kicks-off at 6.45pm.
NSW Waratahs squad: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Alex Newsome, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Kurtley Beale, 11. Andrew Kellaway, 10, Bernard Foley, 9. Jake Gordon, 8. Jed Holloway, 7. Michael Hooper (Captain), 6. Michael Wells, 5. Rob Simmons, 4. Tom Staniforth, 3. Paddy Ryan, 2. Damien Fitzpatrick, 1. Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16. Hugh Roach, 17. Tolu Latu, 18. Shambeckler Vui, 19. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 20. Will Miller, 21. Mitch Short, 22. Mack Mason, 23. Bryce Hegarty, 24. Ned Hanigan, 25. Lalakai Foketi, 26. Lachlan Swinton, 27. Ryan McCauley, 28. Brad Wilkin, 29. Nick Palmer, 30. Irae Simone, 31. Taqele Naiyaravoro