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Waratahs name Turner & rookie Hart for Brumbies

Grayson Hart will make his Waratahs debut this weekend

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Article Published: Tuesday 3 July 2012|

The Waratahs have named winger Lachie Turner in their team for the first time this season as well as rookie half-back Grayson Hart to make his debut this weekend against Australian conference leaders the Brumbies on Saturday.

Twenty-four-year-old Hart impressed Head Coach Michael Foley with his recent form for club Southern Districts which has led to him and another highly rated youngster, Bernard Foley (22) in a backline that features five Wallabies.

"With (assistant coaches) Alan Gaffney and Scotty Bowen, Grayson has worked particularly hard through the year on his skills and decision making and he's had a very good run of club rugby," said Foley. "We've been monitoring his performances and we're very excited for him."

Hart's only previous Super Rugby experience came three years ago for the Auckland Blues. "He's had seven games for the Blues that will stand him in good stead," added Foley.

The nephew of former All Blacks coach John Hart, it was his uncle's guidance that saw the New Zealand-born youngster make the move to Australia. "He's the one I always go to for advice," admitted Hart. "He's had a massive influence on my career and he was very supportive of my move to the Waratahs."

The up and coming halfback also lists New Zealand U20s on his rugby CV, when he played alongside Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock and Zac Guildford.

"Those guys have come along way and it's great for me to see someone that I played alongside like Aaron doing so well."

And after several years of hard work and perseverance, Hart is itching to make his mark.

"With the long break from Super rugby there was times when I wondered when my time was going to come. With all the training I was putting in, I always give it 100 per cent. I've really stuck at it and I've really enjoyed being part of the environment but every player wants to be playing for their team. When I found out I was starting this game I was really excited, it's all been worth it."

Having made a successful return to action following two try-scoring performances in the Shute Shield, Lachie Turner makes his comeback in an experienced NSW back three that also features Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Foley believes that the trio will "most definitely" benefit from the Bernard Foley-Berrick Barnes 10-12 combination.

"It would be silly for us to think that the space (out wide) will be there without us working for it. The Brumbies have a very good defensive record and if we're to create opportunities for those guys to play with width, we need to do the hard work first."

Led by prop Benn Robinson, who will make his 100th appearance for NSW, the Waratahs forward pack features an all-Wallaby front row in Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kepu, with Dean Mumm and Kane Douglas in the second row and Dave Dennis, Chris Alcock and Wycliff Palu completing the pack.

Paying tribute to the contribution of his stand in skipper, Foley says Robinson did an enormous amount of work to return from the cruciate ligament that ruled him out of last year's Rugby World Cup. "I think he just keeps getting better as the year's gone on. Throughout what's been a difficult season, he's always remained enthusiastic and upbeat and led from the front.

"His tussle with Adam Jones (for the Wallabies against Wales) was one of the world's best tight-heads and one of the world's best loose-heads going at it. it was fantastic for all front row pundits out there."


15. Adam Ashley-Cooper ,14. Lachie Turner ,13. Rob Horne ,12. Berrick Barnes , vice captain,11. Drew Mitchell ,10. Bernard Foley ,9. Grayson Hart ,8. Wycliff Palu ,7. Chris Alcock ,6. Dave Dennis ,5. Kane Douglas ,4. Dean Mumm ,3. Sekope Kepu ,2. Tatafu Polota-Nau ,1. Benn Robinson , captain

Replacements:16. Josh Mann-Rea ,17. Paddy Ryan ,18. Sitaleki Timani , 19. Lopeti Timani ,20. Brendan McKibbin ,21. Tom Carter ,22. Tom Kingston

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