Super Rugby: Tahs unchanged, Brumbies to start twin towers
FOR the clash with the Brumbies, NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has the luxury of naming an unchanged line-up from the one that slaughtered the Sunwolves 77-25 last weekend.
The Waratahs have locked up top spot in the Australian conference and are looking to finish second overall in Super Rugby's curious playoff system.
"Part of our strategy is to try and keep combinations together, and it's up to those players to really earn it through their performances," Gibson said.
"As a coaching team we feel that they are doing that and deserve their spots.
"For both sides there's real incentive there on the outcome of the game.
"The Brumbies need a bonus point win to have a chance to quality and for us the real carrot of knowing if you progress in this tournament of giving yourself the opportunity through having a home semi-final potentially."
NSW hasn't daydreamed ahead to potential quarter-final opponents.
"We haven't looked beyond this game," Gibson said.
"We know there's a lot riding on this fixture and we want to perform.
"The finals series will take care of itself and we will just wait and see who we get."
For the Brumbies, twin towers Rory and Richie Arnold will start a Super Rugby game together for the first time - with coach Dan McKellar made two changes.
The 2.08m-tall twins are part of a supersized pack, with lock Blake Enever switching to blindside flanker in place of the concussed Tom Cusack.
Test prop Scott Sio also makes a welcome return as the Brumbies look to upset the Australian conference leaders and potentially sneak into the top eight.
Sio's return means loose-head Nic Mayhew - impressive in last week's loss to the Chiefs - drops back to the bench.
Co-captain Sam Carter remains on the injured list and Christian Lealiifano will again lead the side.
Lealiifano is off contract at the end of the season but McKellar isn't stressed about the prospect of losing the five-eighth.
"I'm quietly confident that he'll be in Canberra for at least another year," McKellar said.
"I don't want to go putting any extra pressure on him at the moment around forcing him to make a decision before what's a big game."
WARATAHS v BRUMBIES in Sydney, Saturday 7.45pm AEST
WARATAHS (15-1): Israel Folau, Cam Clark, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley (c), Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Will Miller, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson
Reserves: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Tom Staniforth, Brad Wilkin, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty, Alex Newsome
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Andrew Muirhead, Christian Lealiifano (c), Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Blake Enever, Richie Arnold, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio
Reserves: Connal McInerney, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Sam Carter, Lachlan McCaffrey, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Lausii Taliauli
Referee: Angus Gardner (AUS)
Venue: Allianz Stadium
CHIEFS v HURRICANES in Hamilton, Friday 5.35pm AEST
CHIEFS (15-1): Solomon Alaimalo, Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Johnny Faauli, Shaun Stevenson, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Jesse Parete, Mitch Karpik, Lachlan Boshier, Tyler Ardron, Brodie Retallick, Angus Ta'avao, Liam Polwart, Sam Prattley
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Jeff Thwaites, Michael Allardice, Liam Messam, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tiaan Falcon, TBC
HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson, Sam Henwood, Brad Shields (c), Sam Lousi, Michael Fatialofa, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Toby Smith
Reserves: James O'Reilly, Chris Eves, Ben May, Gareth Evans, Reed Prinsep, Finlay Christie, Ihaia West, Julian Savea
Referee: Mike Fraser (NZ). Venue: FMG Stadium
REDS v SUNWOLVES in Brisbane, Friday 7.45pm AEST
REDS (15-1): Jono Lance, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Duncan Paia'aua, Eto Nabuli, Hamish Stewart, Tate McDermott, Scott Higginbotham (c), Liam Wright, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith
Reserves: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Teti Tela
SUNWOLVES (15-1): Jason Emery, Yoshikazu Fujita, Michael Little, Harumichi Tatekawa, Akihito Yamada, Hayden Parker, Yutaka Nagare (c), Willie Britz, Ed Quirk, Michael Leitch, Wimpie van der Walt, James Moore, Takuma Asahara, Yusuke Niwai, Craig Millar
Reserves: Jaba Bregvadze, Keita Inagaki, Hencus van Wyk, Kazuki Himeno, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryoto Nakamura
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (NZ). Venue: Suncorp Stadium
HIGHLANDERS v REBELS in Dunedin, Saturday 3.15pm AEST
HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Josh Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Liam Squire, James Lentjes (c), Shannon Frizell, Jackson Hemopo, Alex Ainley, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Aki Seuili
Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Kalolo Tuiloma, Tom Franklin, Dillon Hunt, Josh Renton, Matt Faddes, Josh McKay
REBELS (15-1): Jack Maddocks, Sefa Naivalu, Tom English (c), Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Michael Ruru, Amanaki Mafi, Colby Fainga'a, Angus Cottrell, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Philip, Sam Talakai, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa'aga
Reserves: Nathan Charles, Tetera Faulkner, Jermaine Ainsley, Sam Jeffries, Richard Hardwick, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Lopeti Timani
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ). Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium
CRUSADERS v BLUES in Christchurch, Saturday 5.35pm AEST
CRUSADERS (15-1): Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (c), Quinten Strange, Michael Alaalatoa, Andrew Makalio, Tim Perry
Reserves: Sam Anderson-Heather, Wyatt Crockett, Donald Brighouse, Luke Romano, Pete Samu, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele
BLUES (15-1): Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai, Michael Collins, Rieko Ioane, Caleb Clarke, Stephen Perofeta, Augustine Pulu (c), Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Jerome Kaino, Ben Nee-Nee, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tuungafasi, Matt Moulds, Alex Hodgman
Reserves: Ross Wright, Pauliasi Manu, Sione Mafileo, Jacob Pierce, Murphy Taramai, Sam Nock, Bryn Gatland, Tamati Tua
Referee: Federico Anselmi (ARG). Venue: AMI Stadium
LIONS v BULLS in Johannesburg, Saturday 11.05pm AEST
LIONS (15-1): Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Warren Whiteley (c), Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen
Reserves: Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Jacobie Adriaanse, Lourens Erasmus, Marnus Schoeman/Hacjivah Dayimani, Ross Cronje, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Howard Mnisi/Shaun Reynolds
BULLS (15-1): Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Johnny Kotze, Jamba Ulengo, Manie Libbok, Ivan van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg, Thembelani Bholi, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman (c), Jannes Kirsten, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman
Reserves: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Mornay Smit, Ruan Nortje, Nick de Jager, Embrose Papier, Boeta Hamman, Divan Rossouw
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA). Venue: Ellis Park
SHARKS v JAGUARES in Durban, Sunday 1.15am AEST
SHARKS (15-1): Curwin Bosch, Kobus van Wyk, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Daniel du Preez, Jacques Vermeulen, Philip van der Walt, Ruan Botha (c), Tyler Paul, Thomas du Toit, Akker van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira
Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Juan Schoeman, John-Hubert Meyer, Hyron Andrews, Wian Vosloo, Cameron Wright, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi
JAGUARES (15-1): Ramiro Moyano, Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Bautista Ezcurra, Sebastian Cancelliere, Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, Martin Landajo, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (c), Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Santiago Medrano, Julian Montoya, Javier Diaz
Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Santiago Garcia Botta, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Guido Petti, Javier Ortega Desio, Gonzalo Bertranou, Nicolas Sanchez, Emiliano Boffelli
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (SA). Venue: Kings Park
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