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By NSW Waratahs Media unit
The NSW Waratahs have made one change to the starting line-up for the match against the Western Force this Saturday in Perth.
Taqele Naiyaravoro returns to the right wing, replacing Bryce Hegarty who was forced from the field in last weekend’s game against the Jaguares, with a hamstring strain.
Head Coach Daryl Gibson says that Naiyaravoro played well when called on as a replacement and it was an easy decision to make.
“Losing Bryce Hegarty was a disappointment as he’s been a real impact player for us and he was playing well before he had to come off last week,” said Gibson.
“I was really pleased with the way Taqele played when he came on and so that was an easy decision to make this week.”
Nick Phipps returns to the match day 23 after overcoming an ankle injury that has kept him off the field since the Waratahs match against the Highlanders in May.
“Nick has worked very hard over the last six weeks and he’s very keen to get back to playing and we think his return is best served coming on from the bench.”
Mack Mason returns to the squad covering a number of backline positions, with Gibson saying Mason’s effort and attitude all year has been excellent.
“Mack has been a real addition to the squad this season. He’s had limited opportunity but he’s always had an excellent attitude at training and deserves a shot to start off the bench for us,” the Waratahs coach said.
Gibson has made one other change to the reserves bench, with prop David Lolohea coming into replace Paddy Ryan, who is out through injury.
Tolu Latu was not considered for selection after straining his neck in a club match on the weekend.
Ryan McCauley, the Australian Under 20 lock, is once again on the bench and will make his Waratah debut if called on to play.
Gibson says that the players are determined to play at their best to win the match.
“We’re firmly focused on delivering and our focus doesn’t extend beyond that, making sure that we finish off well.”
The NSW Waratahs play the Western Force on Saturday July 15 at 7:55pm (AEST).
NSW Waratahs Team
Michael Hooper ©
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