Hand to Make Run-on Debut in Super 14 Opener



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Lock Ben Hand has been selected to make his Super 14 starting debut in the HSBC Waratahs season opener against the Lions in Johannesburg on Friday (Saturday morning AEDT).

The 24 year-old will line up beside Will Caldwell in the second row, with fellow lock Dean Mumm also set to make his debut after being named on a 4-3 forwards-backs bench.

‘The effort of both Ben and Dean has been outstanding during the preseason and we expect both to step up in South Africa,’ HSBC Waratahs head coach Ewen McKenzie said.

‘They have been in the Waratahs development programme for a while now so while they’re light on Super 14 experience they have plenty of Waratah matches under their belts.’

2006 flyhalf Daniel Halangahu has retained the number 10 jersey, ahead of rookie Kurtley Beale.

‘Kurtley continues to develop and this selection is the next step in the pathway for him,’ McKenzie said.

‘He’s taken some big steps recently and while we’ve got a number of Super Rugby debutants Kurtley’s learning curve is slightly steeper.’

Josh Valentine will start at scrumhalf in what will be his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs, while returning centre Sam Harris has been named on the bench behind Ben Jacobs, who will start at inside centre.

Tatafu Polota-Nau will start at hooker with Adam Freier, in his first match back from a hamstring strain, on the bench.

Phil Waugh is captain with Morgan Turinui his vice-captain.

Friday’s match kicks off 7.10pm local time (4.10am Saturday AEDT) at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

The team departs for South Africa on Wednesday morning.

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