Folau starts for Waratahs against Brumbies

Israel Folau and Jacques Potgieter will start for the Waratahs in their Super Rugby Semi-final against the Brumbies at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has made two changes to the starting line-up
for the team’s must-win home Semi-Final.

After resting him in the final round of the regular competition, the coach
has restored Israel Folau to fullback. Cleared of a corked thigh, Izzy’s
eager to make an impact saying he is “feeling fresh and ready to go”.

Up front in the engine room, the other change sees hard-hitter and crowd favourite
Potgieter start in the number four jersey, with big Will Skelton being backed
to make his impact off the bench.

The Waratahs front row remains the same, with Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota
Nau and Sekope Kepu at the coal face for this, the 25th instalment of the Waratahs
v Brumbies rivalry.

South African hit man Potgeiter will partner the Europe-bound Kane Douglas
at lock, their combination a key element in the solidarity and power of the
Tahs’ scrum.

The Waratahs loose forwards remain untouched, with captain Michael Hooper at
openside, Stephen Hoiles on the blindside and Wycliff Palu at No. 8.

When he takes the field, Palu will join the legendary David Lyons as NSW’s
equal most capped Super Rugby No. 8 of all time (89 caps at the back of the
scrum, with a further 15 as flanker).

As the halves combination, Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley remain the crux of
the Waratahs’ backline. Backing the two NSW playmakers are the talented
Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres.

Running the wings are Rob Horne and Alofa Alofa.

Coach Cheika said that he is looking for a big impact from all three of his
locks – Potgieter, Douglas and Skelton.

“Rugby has changed so much, back in the day you’d have to be injured to
be taken off. Now the replacement players are the matchwinners,” he told
Reuters.

“So it’s got a whole new scope about what happens and (Will) knows how
important his role is.”

Fullback Folau said that having missed the Reds match in the final round he
is feeling good.

“I missed the last game against the Reds. The body’s feeling fresh and
I’m ready to go,” said Folau.

Waratahs

Israel Folau, Alofa Alofa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Stephen Hoiles, Kane Douglas, Jacques Potgieter, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.

Replacements :(from) 16 Paddy Ryan, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Tolu Latu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 24 Matt Carraro, 25 Mitchell Chapman

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