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Michael Hooper starts for Waratahs against Blues

Michael Hooper will make his Waratahs debut against the Blues

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Article Published: Thursday 7 February 2013

Former Brumbies star Michael Hooper has been name to make his Waratahs debut on Saturday when the Tahs take on the Blues in Whangarei.

The 21-year-old Wallaby breakaway was born in NSW and says he can't wait to pull the Waratahs' jersey on for the first time.

"I can't wait to get into it. I've watched the Waratahs from when I was a kid, my mum and dad supported the Waratahs and they were the team I went for.

"To be able to finally play for them is something that definitely gets me excited and keen to go for the game."

Hooper is one of six changes to the 28-man squad from last week's 24-16 win over the Rebels in Hobart.

The side will be led once again by skipper Brendan McKibbin.

"Paddy Ryan is coming back, as are Michael Hooper, Kane Douglas, Drew Mitchell and Lachlan Turner," said head coach Michael Cheika, of the other Wallabies scheduled for their first run of the season.

The squad also features Southern Districts' lock Jed Holloway, who like Hooper, will represent the team for the first time in New Zealand.

The match will be the team's penultimate hit out before their Super Rugby season starts against the Reds up in Brisbane on Saturday February 23.

"The key here is about getting game hard and feeling the way with your team mates," added Cheika, adding that he planned to give everyone in the squad as much game time as possible.

Cheika's final chance to get his players that valuable game time will come next Thursday when the Waratahs take on an all-star Crusaders side at Allianz Stadium under the leadership of new captain Dave Dennis (Allianz Stadium, Thursday February 14, kick off 7.30pm).

Waratahs vs Blues
Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Saturday February 9
Kkick off 4.30pm EST


Michael Alaalatoa (Southern Districts)*, Richard Aho (Randwick)*, Kotoni Ale (Manly)*, Tom Carter , Cam Crawford, Kane Douglas, Israel Folau , Bernard Foley (vice captain), Michael Hodge, Jed Holloway, Luke Holmes,Michael Hooper, Rob Horne , AJ Gilbert (Northern Suburbs)*, Tom Kingston , Matt Lucas, Brendan McKibbin (captain) ,Tolu Latu (Sydney University)*, Dane Maraki (Manly)*, Drew Mitchell, Elijah Niko (Eastern Suburbs)* , Greg Peterson , Paddy Ryan, Jeremy Tilse (vice captain), Lachie Turner, Peter Samu (Randwick)* , Will Skelton (Sydney University)*,John Ulugia,Ben Volavola

* Indicates non-contracted players

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