Skelton returns for Waratahs against Rebels
Cape Town - Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has made four changes to the starting line-up that will take on the Rebels at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Lock Will Skelton, No 8 Michael Wells and halfback Nick Phipps all come off the bench into the starting side, while Taqele Naiyaravoro returns from injury, replacing Reece Robinson on the right wing.
Hooker Damien Fitzpatrick replaces Hugh Roach on the bench.
Daryl Gibson said the changes come from players working hard and competing for starting spots, forcing their way into the line-up.
“Given where the competition is at right now these games are huge and these are the matches that the players really want to play in,” Gibson said.
“Will Skelton had a real impact when he came off the bench in the second half against the Blues and we’re looking for more from him in this match.
“The players have worked hard during the week after returning from the bye so they are fresh and ready to play.”
Gibson says the Waratahs are only too aware of the fact they are letting sides get away from them in the first half of their games and have been working to address that problem.
In their last match against the Blues the Waratahs trailed 26-0 at half time and won the second half by 33 points to 14 only to lose the game to the New Zealand side by 40-33.
“The players know that they need to work hard for the full eighty minutes and that we need to start with a real intent and an urgency to our performance,” he said.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Taavao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Irae Simone