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Max Jorgensen dropped as injury-hit Waratahs prepare for Hurricanes

By Finn Morton
Max Jorgensen of the Waratahs in action during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between NSW Waratahs and Highlanders at Allianz Stadium, on March 08, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Wallaby-in-waiting Max Jorgensen has been left out of the NSW Waratahs’ match-day squad to take on the table-topping Hurricanes with coach Darren Coleman continuing to rotate the outside backs.

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Jorgensen, who didn’t take the field at last year’s Rugby World Cup despite being named in the Wallabies’ squad, makes way for Randwick’s Dylan Pietsch who returns on the left wing.

With the Waratahs sticking with another Randwick wing in Triston Reilly on the right edge, Wallaby Mark Nawaqanitawase has shifted to fullback once again this season.

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In another headline-grabbing change by the Waratahs, Will Harrison – who kicked the winning drop goal against the Crusaders in Sydney almost three weeks ago – starts at fly-half.

Harrison has been picked ahead of Tane Edmed, while Fiji rugby league international Vuate Karawalevu is in line to debut at Super Rugby Pacific level off the bench.

“This week provides an opportunity for Will to take control of the team and steer them around from the opening whistle,” coach Coleman said in a statement. “I’m highly interested to see how this plays out.

“In keeping with the back three rotation of late, Max will rotate out of the side, enabling Dylan Pietsch to come back into the starting side. Dulan was great for Randwick last week and deserves his spot.

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“We always wanted to five Vuate an opportunity at some stage this year. He’s been a committed and hard-working member of the squad and this is a good opportunity to see his attributes under the pressure of Super Rugby.”

In the forwards, hulking lock Miles Amatosero and flanker Charlie Gamble have both been moved from the starting side and into the reserves.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
5
Draws
0
Wins
0
Average Points scored
40
25
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
60%

Former Western Force lock Fergus Lee-Warner comes into the run-on side, as does Shute Shield star Hunter Ward at openside flanker.

“Miles and Charlie move to the bench due to a disrupted training week with some niggling injuries which opens the door for Hunter Ward and Fergus Lee-Warner,” Coleman explained.

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“Hunter is a combative and industrious number even who did well with his opportunity against the Blues last year and has been one of the top performers in the Shute Shield this season.”

This Trans-Tasman blockbuster between the Waratahs and Hurricanes at Wellington’s Sky Stadium is scheduled to get underway at 5:05pm AEST on Friday evening.

NSW Waratahs team to take on Hurricanes

  1. Hayden Thompson-Stringer
  2. Julian Heaven
  3. Harry Johnson-Holmes
  4. Hugh Sinclair
  5. Fergus Lee-Warner
  6. Lachlan Swinton
  7. Hunter Ward
  8. Langi Gleeson
  9. Jake Gordon (c)
  10. Will Harrison
  11. Dylan Pietsch
  12. Lalakai Foketi
  13. Izaia Perese
  14. Triston Reilly
  15. Mark Nawaqanitawase

Replacements

  1. Jay Fonokalafi
  2. Lewis Ponini
  3. Brad Amituanai
  4. Miles Amatosero
  5. Charlie Gamble
  6. Jack Grant
  7. Tane Edmed
  8. Vuate Karawalevu*

*Denotes potential Super Rugby Pacific debut

Players unavailable: David Porecki, Thomas Lambert, Archer Holz, Mesu Kunavula, Ned Slack-Smith, Daniel Botha, Mahe Vailanu, Angus Bell, Theo Fourie, Joey Walton, Ned Hanigan, Tom Ross, Jed Holloway

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