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Ex-Junior Wallabies No. 10 named for first Super Rugby match in 707 days

By Finn Morton
Will Harrison of the Waratahs and team mates look dejected after conceding a try during the round 7 Super RugbyAU match between the NSW Waratahs and the ATC Brumbies at Sydney Cricket Ground, on April 02, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Former Junior Wallabies fly-half Will Harrison is in line for his first Super Rugby Pacific match in 707 days after being named to come off the bench for the Waratahs on Friday night.


Harrison, who started in the No. 10 jersey when the Junior Wallabies made the final of the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina, is back after a series of heartbreaking injuries.

Head coach Darren Coleman has also welcomed Lalakai Foketi into the matchday squad for the first time this season after the Wallaby was hospitalised with a neck injury during pre-season.

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“It’s great news,” assistant coach Chris Whitaker said in a statement. “They both received a big cheer in the team meeting when the team was announced.


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“They’ve both obviously had different injury setbacks but they’ve both shown a lot of mental fortitude and strength of character to come back from their injuries.

“The boys saw Lalakai taken away in an ambulance which was quite frightening for them so they’re happy to see him back. He gives us a lot of experience in that backline and the boys love to play with him.

“It’s been a long battle for Will Harrison. It’s so good to see him back. The boys have seen him in here working on his injuries. He’s raring to go and he’s a little terrier who will give us plenty of energy.


“He’s done a lot of hard work to get back to where he is. He’s played some good games for us in our Waratahs A team and played 80 minutes for Randwick last week also.”

In the other changes to the First XV, prop Tom Ross, lock Hugh Sinclair and flanker Lachlan Swinton have all been promoted to the starting side.

“The Rebels play some really good football,” Whitaker added. “Carter Gordon is a real threat and likes to throw the ball around a fair bit. His kicking game is a threat as well so our back three will have to be sharp.

“Up front, they’ve also got some really good ball carriers and they’ll attack us through the middle so we’ve got to be prepared for that.


“At scrum-time and set-piece, they’ve also been very good with Taniela up front, so across the board, it’s important that we fire out shots because they’re a team that can score some points.”

Waratahs team to take on Melbourne Rebels

  1. Angus Bell
  2. Mahe Vailanu
  3. Tom Ross
  4. Jed Holloway
  5. Hugh Sinclair
  6. Lachlan Swinton
  7. Charlie Gamble
  8. Langi Gleeson
  9. Jake Gordon (c)
  10. Tane Edmed
  11. Dylan Pietsch
  12. Joey Walton
  13. Izaia Perese
  14. Mark Nawaqanitawase
  15. Max Jorgensen


  1. Julian Heaven
  2. Hayden Thompson-Stringer
  3. Harry Johnson-Holmes
  4. Miles Amatosero
  5. Ned Hanigan
  6. Jack Grant
  7. Will Harrison
  8. Lalakai Foketi

Players unavailable for selection: David Porecki (Achilles), Thomas Lambert (knee), Archer Holz (shoulder), Mesu Kunavula (knee), Ned Slack-Smith (concussion), Daniel Botha (neck)


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finn 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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