Phipps returns for Waratahs in Aussie derby
Cape Town - The inclusion of scrumhalf Nick Phipps is the only change to the Waratahs matchday squad for Saturday’s derby with arch-rivals the Reds at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Phipps, who has been sidelined for a lengthy period with a calf injury, replaces Mitchell Short in the only change to the side that beat the Sunwolves in Tokyo last Saturday.
Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said naming an unchanged starting line-up was a reflection of performance.
"Firstly being able to name an unchanged line-up is a reward to the guys for performing for us," he explained.
"We’ve had six games, four of those have been on the road and this will only be our third game at home so it’s nice to be back home, particularly for such as prestigious game.
"Having the opportunity for the guys to play on the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time since 1983 is very exciting, and it’s great to be a part of that.
"Secondly, to welcome Nick (Phipps) back. It’s been a long, hard road for him. He’s had six to eight weeks of nearly being there and he’s finally passed fit and he had a good trot last week for Sydney University."
Saturday’s game at the SCG will be the first time since 1983 that New South Wales and Queensland have played at the iconic venue.
"It’s going to be new for everyone once you get over the fact that it’s a different ground, at the end of the day, it’s still going to be a rectangle," added Gibson.
"We are looking forward to what will be a very physical encounter. It (the SCG is still a ground in Sydney and one that’s close to our home ground. I think historically, it’s a fantastic venue."
The Waratahs will wear a special Heritage jersey for Saturday’s clash against the Queensland Reds at the SCG.
15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Cameron Clark