Brumbies

Whitaker to get 100th cap against Blues

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HSBC Waratahs skipper Chris Whitaker will become the first NSW player to record 100 Super Rugby caps when he runs on against the Auckland Blues on Friday night at Aussie Stadium.


After the game Whitaker will be 15 Super rugby games ahead of the next most capped player Nathan Grey (85) and 21 ahead of Matthew Burke (79) who is the most capped overall with 115 NSW matches to his name.


‘To be ahead of those two guys is pretty humbling,’ said Whitaker.


‘They are legends of NSW Rugby and it’s only when you put the numbers with those names that it really hits home and makes you incredibly proud.’


Lote Tuqiri returns to the Waratahs starting line-up on Friday after missing last week’s clash in Perth due to Rugby Sevens duties at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.


Tuqiri slots straight back onto the wing moving Wendell Sailor to the other wing, Peter Hewat back to fullback and Sam Norton-Knight to the bench.


Ben Jacobs drops out of the 22 and Chris Siale is 23rd man in recognition for his outstanding performances for NSW A.


‘The decisions this week were tough, extremely tough and although I had a few restless nights I believe this is our best combination to beat the Blues on Friday,’ said head coach Ewen McKenzie.


‘We’ve worked hard on improving our depth so inevitably we were going to have hard decisions to make; this is something we expected, in fact wanted.’


Tuqiri and reserve hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau were both unable to train today.


Tuqiri reported in ill this morning while Polota-Nau is suffering from a mild case of pneumonia.


‘Lote’s very flat today while Tatafu has been flat out in bed since Monday night but he’s been looked after well by our doctor and we’ll see him on game night,’ McKenzie added.


Waratahs team to play Blues


1. Benn Robinson
2. Adam Freier
3. Al Baxter
4. Alex Kanaar
5. Daniel Vickerman
6. Wycliff Palu
7. Phil Waugh [v-c]
8. David Lyons
9. Chris Whitaker [c]
10. Mat Rogers
11. Lote Tuqiri
12. Shaun Berne
13. Morgan Turinui
14. Wendell Sailor
15. Peter Hewat


Reserves
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. Matt Dunning
18. Will Caldwell
19. Stephen Hoiles
20. Brett Sheehan
21. Daniel Halangahu
22. Sam Norton-Knight
23. Chris Siale

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