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Phipps back in favour with Waratahs, Razor rests ABs

Wallabies star Nick Phipps is back in Daryl Gibson’s run-on side for Saturday’s Super Rugby showdown with the table-topping Crusaders in Christchurch.

Phipps replaces Jake Gordon to make his first start of the 2018 season.

Head coach Daryl Gibson said he planned on rotating his halfbacks during NSW’s four-game stretch against New Zealand competition, in order to showcase his players in front of Wallabies selectors.

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“Nick’s such a competitor. The chances he’s been given when he comes on, you can see the speed with which he wants to play the game and then also I’m looking at those fixtures and trying to match both their skill sets to those games,” he said on Thursday.

“Nick and Jake have got lovely contrasting styles and I think Nick’s strengths in this game are really important.

“The way he does speed the game up with his fitness and that strength will be an important factor.”

Other changes include Curtis Rona starting at outside centre in place of Lalakai Foketi and prop Shambeckler Vui earning a spot.

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has decided to rest some of his All Blacks for the trans-Tasman clash, with Owen Franks and Ryan Crotty set to sit out.

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The Crusaders starting side will feature an all-new starting front row, headlined by the return of All Blacks prop Joe Moody, alongside Codie Taylor and Michael Alaalatoa.

Wyatt Crockett and Andrew Makalio take spots on the bench, while Donald Brighouse has been named to provide tighthead cover.

Bryn Hall rotates in to start at halfback, while Tim Bateman accommodates the midfield with Jack Goodhue following the latter’s successful return from injury last weekend.

Powerful winger Manasa Mataele joins his uncle, Seta Tamanivalu, in the starting XV to take on the Waratahs, with both players getting the nod on the left and right wings respectively. George Bridge drops back to fullback.

WARATAHS

15. Israel Folau, 14. Cam Clark, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Kurtley Beale, 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nick Phipps, 8. Michael Wells, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 6. Will Miller, 5. Rob Simmons, 4. Ned Hanigan, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Damien Fitzpatrick, 1. Tom Robertson.
Reserves: 16. Hugh Roach, 17. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18. Shambeckler Vui, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Jed Holloway, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Lalakai Foketi, 23. Bryce Hegarty.

CRUSADERS

15. George Bridge, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Manasa Mataele, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Jordan Taufua, 7. Matt Todd (VC), 6. Pete Samu, 5. Sam Whitelock (VC), 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 2. Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.
Reserves: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Donald Brighouse, 19. Mitchell Dunshea, 20. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Braydon Ennor.

In other news:

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Phipps back in favour with Waratahs, Razor rests ABs