McKenzie keeps cards close

Kurtley Beale is tipped to play at No 10 against the Cheetahs but Ewen McKenzie will only name his starting team at the last minute.

This strategy is a response to Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus’s changing of his side on match day. For the past two encounters Kabamba Floors was named at No 8 midweek, but come the game Ryno van der Merwe ran out with the starting XV.

“I don’t normally leave it until late, but it seems to be the done thing over here [in South Africa] so I’m just trying to get into the spirit of things,” McKenzie said. “We’ll be confirming the starting XV at the last possible moment.”

Reports fromt he Waratahs camp indicate 19-year-old Beale will displace Daniel Halangahu and gain his first start against the Cheetahs. Morgan Turinui is likely to be dropped in favour of a new centre-combination in Sam Harris and Ben Jacobs.

Brett Sheehan is expected to start ahead of Josh Valentine, as is Dean Mumm instead of lock Ben Hand. Aaron Broughton-Rose and Beau Robinson drop out of the squad to be replaced by Jeremy Tilse and Tim Davidson respectively.

Probable Waratahs - 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Sam Harris, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Will Caldwell, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polotau-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Morgan Turinui.