Keo.co.za brings you the latest from Australia’s Super 14 sides.
Hickey keeps winning formula
Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has names an unchanged side to take on the Bulls In Sydney on Saturday.
Hickey has shown faith in his men for the third week running following back-to-back wins over the Blues and Stormers.
The Bulls, coming off two losses, currently sit in fourth place on the ladder with 23 competition points, four points behind the Waratahs in third, but with a game in hand after a bye in week five.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will earn his 50th cap for NSW on Saturday.
Waratahs – 15 Sam Norton Knight, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Chris Thomson, 19 Luke Doherty, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Kurtley Beale, 22 Timana Tahu.
Mooney wields axe
After heavy back-to-back defeats the Reds coach Phil Mooney has made eight changes to his team to face the Highlanders this Saturday.
In the backline Peter Hynes returns from a knee injury to replace Blair Connor while Brando Va’aulu, fit again after groin and hamstring injuries over the past month, comes in at the expense of youngster Rod Davies.
But it is in the pack where the major changes are.
Scott Higginbotham is back in the starting team at blindside flanker. Hugh McMeniman moves from number six to lock to accommodate his recall, while Van Humphries will not make the journey to New Zealand due to a corked thigh and sore shoulder.
Former Highlanders No 8 Ezra Taylor also comes into the starting XV, with Leroy Houston relegated to the bench, while loosehead prop Greg Holmes returns to the front row to replace Ben Daley.
Reds – 15 Mark McLinden, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Digby Ioane, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Brando Va’aulu, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Ezra Taylor, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Hugh McMeniman, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Sean Hardman, 1 Greg Holmes.
Subs: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Jack Kennedy, 18 Adam Byrnes, 19 Leroy Houston, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Charlie Fetoai, 22 Luke Morahan.
Cummins re-signs with Force
Western Force winger Nick Cummins has signed a new two-year deal with the Super 14 franchise.
The 21-year-old, who has 14 Super rugby caps to his name, burst onto the international scene with a sizzling two-year stint with the Australian Sevens before linking up with the Force last season.
Cummins joins Sam Wykes, Richard Stanford and Tom Hockings as others to have re-signed this year.
Meanwhile, coach John Mitchell has named an unchanged line-up from the team that dismantled the Reds last week.
“There were many pleasing aspects of last weekend’s win but the most satisfying was that it came through a whole team effort,” Mitchell said.
“We built the win on the back of some strong defence and we were able to maintain our physicality throughout.”
The Force are six points adrift of fourth spot and need to beat the Hurricanes to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Force – 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Scott Staniforth, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 James O’Connor, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Pek Cowan.
Subs: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 AJ Whalley, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tamaiti Horua, 20 Chris O’Young, 21 Junior Pelesasa, 22 Haig Sare.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.