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By Waratahs Rugby Media Unit
Familiar Waratahs faces return for Highlanders game at Brookvale Oval
In the final pre-season game ahead of the Vovdafone Super Rugby season, Head Coach Daryl Gibson has named a more experienced Waratahs line up to take on the Highlanders.
Running out for the Tahs for the first time in 2017 will be experienced play makers Michael Hooper (Captain), Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Dean Mumm, Bernard Foley, Will Skelton and Nick Phipps.
Skelton recently returned from the UK where he spent the bulk of the off-season playing with Saracens club, getting in some vital game time ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
“For me was it was just good to get in the game time while in England," said Skelton.
"I missed the pre-season here but I’m a bit more match fit and ready to go against the Highlanders.
“The Highlanders finished second last year, they are always a class act. We are looking to play Waratahs rugby and really showcase our style in front of our fans at Brookvale,” he said.
For young gun Michael Wells, he’ll be looking for the local support when he runs out at Brookvale, the Northern Beaches prodigy relishing the opportunity to wear the sky blue.
“Moving back home (Sydney) was a big opportunity and I jumped at it. I have wanted to be a Waratah since I was a kid so it was nice to come back,” said Wells.
“Fifteens is where I wanted to be and I was really grateful that the Tahs gave me the opportunity to come home and I’m happy to be here. You dream of playing fifteens when you’re a young kid and to fulfil that dream at only 23 I feel like I have a long future at the Tahs.
“I’ve put my best foot forward in the pre-season and I was happy enough with my trial against the Brumbies.
“Brooky (Brookvale Oval) is nice, I was in the Rays the first year of the NRC where we had Brooky as our home ground so hopefully there is a little local knowledge there. We have a few northern beaches boys so hopefully we know the run of the green down there,” he said.
The Waratahs take on the Highlanders on Thursday 16 February 2017 at Brookvale Oval. Kick off is 6:30pm - tickets available at www.waratahs.com.au/tickets
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Shute Shield clubs will receive an injection of NSW Waratah players ahead of round 12 of the Sydney competition. At the same time that several of their New South Wales team mates pull on the Wallaby gold, the remaining available Waratahs will take to club land.