Barnes back for Tahs

RICHARD FERGUSON updates followers of the latest Super Rugby news from Australia.

Barnes back for Tahs

Berrick Barnes returns to the Waratahs starting team while Drew Mitchell is dropped in a host of changes to the team.

Barnes is straight into the starting line-up, selected at outside centre at the expense of Tom Carter, giving the Tahs a second playmaker along with Bernard Foley. Lachie Turner and Peter Betham are named to start on the wings, while Israel Folau returns to fullback. Ben Volavola’s role has returned to that of super sub, as he also drops to the bench.

Amongst the forwards, Pat McCutcheon returns to the starting lineup after more than a year out of the game, allowing Dave Dennis to revert to his preferred spot on the side of the scrum. Sekope Kepu has been given time off for the birth of his child and is replaced by Paddy Ryan. Tatafu Polota-Nau is injured while John Ulugia gets a start.

Rob Horne’s return to Super Rugby action will be limited to a bench appearance.

NSW Waratahs: Israel Folau, Lachie Turner, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin, Pat McCutcheon, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Paddy Ryan, John Ulugia, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Luke Holmes, Jeremy Tilse, Mitchell Chapman, Lopeti Timani, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Rob Horne

Fainga’a to face Sharks

Colby Fainga’a hopes to take to the field of play against the Sharks this weekend, after a spot on the bench became available following the injury to David Pocock.

Fainga’a has only played 80 minutes of Super Rugby in the last 18 months, due to a foot injury, but is hoping to make an impact in the absence of Pocock. Fainga’a did not expect to even tour to South Africa, but after the injury, he is happy to be able to get game time.

Jake White is yet to name his team but it is expected that George Smith will start in the place of David Pocock, while Fainga’a’s return may be limited to an appearance off the bench.