Wallaby fullback Mat Rogers has been named on the Waratahs bench for Saturday’s match against the Sharks in Sydney.
It will be Rogers’s first game of the year since the sudden death in January of his father, rugby league great Steve Rogers.
“Since returning from compassionate leave he’s trained the house down back here and he’s ready to go,” said ‘Tahs coach McKenzie. “Thinking with the heart you’d love to throw him straight into the starting side but it’s definitely better practice to ease him back through the bench where I expect him to make a strong impact.”
The ‘Tahs have been forced to make several changes to the team that lost at Loftus with Matt Dunning, Rocky Elsom and Wendell Sailor all suspended.
Benn Robinson replaces Dunning at prop to make his Super 14 run-on debut, Wycliff Palu takes over from Elsom at blindside flanker and David Lyons returns to No 8 for Stephen Hoiles. Daniel Vickerman returns from a lower back injury moving Will Caldwell to the bench.
Waratahs team to play Sharks:
15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Morgan Turinui, 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Chris Whitaker (c), 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Wycliff Palu, 5 Daniel Vickerman, 4 Alex Kanaar, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Troy Takiari, 18 Will Caldwell, 19 Stephen Hoiles, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Mat Rogers, 22 Ben Jacobs.