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The NSW Waratahs welcome the unbeaten Queensland Reds to Sydney and will be desperate to avoid a repeat of the thrashing they received in Brisbane just a few weeks ago. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of what promises to be a thrilling match starting from 7:45pm (AEDT).
In 1962, the Waratahs refused to play Queensland because they considered the Reds not to be good enough. How times have changed – 59 years on and the Reds will roll into Sydney as very firm favourites to hand the Tahs yet another embarrassing defeat in a season that is fast becoming one of the very worst in their history.
The struggles of the Sydney team are capturing attention all over, with Rugby AU CEO Andy Marinos voicing his concerns during the week at how the Tahs have performed. Rob Penney has made seven changes this week and unfortunately some of them are due to injuries to some of his better players. Jack Dempsey and Lachie Swinton are both out which means yet more experience will be missing from the Tahs pack. Will Harris will come in at No.8, Hugh Sinclair will start on the blindside and Sam Wykes will start in the second row.
In the backs, Izaia Perese is back after his three-match ban and will have a new partner in the centres in Lalakai Foketi whilst Alex Newsome will captain things from way out on the wing.
The Tahs will be hoping that the recent visit from Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and mind coach Dave Diggle will help them over turn this seasons’ trend of conceding an average of over 30 points a game.
For the visiting Reds, there is a lot of expectation. The feeling is that this game should be a done deal and Brad Thorn has made just four changes as he looks to continue an unbeaten run. Seru Uru gets a chance at no.8 as Harry Wilson will come off the bench. Lock Ryan Smith will make his starting debut with Brandon Paenga-Amosa another change to the starting pack. Meanwhile out wide, Filipo Daugunu starts on the wing.
Expert analyst, Nicholas Bishop, wrote an insightful piece about how the Reds might not be quite as dominant and destined for success as some might feel with some real challenges to sort out in their defence and scrum. If referee Graham Cooper doesn’t like how the Queensland scrum is operating, things could get quite challenging for the visitors as their game plan will be based around pack dominance.
The Reds still have room for improvement but there’s something reassuring about the frustrated words of both coach Thorn and captain O’Connor in recognising this in recent weeks even after victories.
A wounded, desperate opponent is always a scary prospect, but the Reds will not stumble in this match.
Reds by 15.
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
TV: Channel Nine
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Reds $1.12, Waratahs $6.10 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2. David Porecki, 3. Tetara Faulkner, 4. Sam Wykes, 5. Sam Caird, 6. Hugh Sinclair, 7. Carlo Tizzano, 8. Will Harris, 9. Jack Grant, 10. Will Harrison, 11. James Ramm, 12. Izaia Perese, 13. Lalakai Foketi, 14. Alex Newsome, 15. Jack Maddocks
Bench: 16. Tom Horton, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Darcy Breen, 19. Jeremy Williams, 20. Max Douglas, 21. Henry Robertson, 22. Tane Edmed, 23. Mark Nawaqanitawase
1. Dane Zander, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Ryan Smith, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Seru Uru, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hunter Paisami, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Suliasi Vunivalu, 15. Jock Campbell
Bench: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Richie Asiata, 18. Zane Nonggorr, 19. Harry Wilson, 20. Sam Wallis, 21. Kalani Thomas, 22. Hamish Stewart, 23. Bryce Hegarty