Waratahs retain starting line up for Blues

Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika has retained the starting line up that beat the Bulls for this weekend’s ANZAC day match against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland.

This Friday’s crucial ANZAC Day encounter will see the Waratahs field an all-Wallaby front row, with Benn Robinson at loosehead, Sekope Kepu at tighthead and Tatafu Polota Nau at hooker.

Playing his best football of the season, Will Skelton retains his position at lock alongside the resilient Kane Douglas, who’ll earn his 66th NSW cap on Friday afternoon (kick off 3.35pm EST).

Crowd favourite Jacques Potgieter will start at as blindside flanker. On the openside is last week’s NSW Man of the Match, Michael Hooper, and captain Dave Dennis is at the back of the pack at No. 8.

Starting in every game so far of the season are halves Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley, with the latter needing just 17 points to become the Tahs’ eighth most prolific Super Rugby points-scorer.

Recovering from an injured ankle, Kurtley Beale will start at inside centre with Adam Ashley Cooper, who is chasing seven points to rack up for 100 Super Rugby points, at 13.

The back three will see wingers Rob Horne and Cam Crawford combined with fullback Israel Folau, who needs just one more try to equal the Waratahs’ record for most individual Super Rugby tries in a season.

Veteran Wycliff Palu returns via the bench after missing the last two games.

Cheika has named a nine-man bench to travel to Auckland, with one player still to be omitted to form the matchday 23.

Waratahs

1. Benn Robinson , 2. Tatafu Polota Nau , 3. Sekope Kepu , 4.Will Skelton , 5. Kane Douglas , 6. Jacques Potgieter , 7. Michael Hooper , 8. Dave Dennis (c), 9. Nick Phipps , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Rob Horne , 12. Kurtley Beale , 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper , 14. Cam Crawford , 15 Israel Folau .

Replacements (one to be omitted): 16. Tolu Latu , 17. Jeremy Tilse , 18. Paddy Ryan , 19. Pat McCutcheon , 20. Wycliff Palu , 21. Brendan McKibbin , 22 Jono Lance , 23. Matt Carraro 24. Stephen Hoiles .

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