‘Tahs take unchanged XV to Dunedin

Date published: March 10 2015

Waratahs Head coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged starting side for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Cheika has stuck with the same team that beat the Reds by 18 points in Brisbane in Round Four.

Matt Carraro continues in the 13 jersey but Israel Folau is expected to interchange with his backline partners as he is eased into the midfield as part of a long-term plan.

The performances of Carraro and Peter Betham – who came into the side after Adam Ashley-Cooper’s injury forced a backline reshuffle two days out before the Reds – were highlights of last week's victory.

Betham raced through a staggered backline to score in the 67th minute to seal the Waratahs win, while Carraro was solid in his first starting match for the Waratahs and through the final pass inside to Bernard Foley, who scored mid-way through the first-half to open the game up.

Carraro said that he was just happy to get onto the field, after little game time this season, but was hoping to get more involved in the game if given another shot.

"[I was] just happy to get on the field," he said.

"No one’s going to be able to fill Adam’s shoes, it’s just about getting out there and being in the moment and trying to do my best.

"If I’m lucky enough to get another game you definitely want to improve.  It would be nice to get involved a bit more and definitely keep on improving.”

This week, the Waratahs face a different proposition than the hot and humid conditions endured in Brisbane when they fly to the south island of New Zealand’ east coast to tackle the Highlanders in Dunedin, who are flying after topping the Chiefs at home last Friday night.

"They look very sharp and it looks as if they lifted their game," said Kepu.  

"It’s an interesting competition, it shows that the one week you’re off, other teams can come and destroy you.

"We’ll be under no illusions that’ll they be up for it this weekend and we’ll definitely build and head over there and take on the challenge."

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Sam Lousi, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Taqele Naiyaravoro/Ben Volavola.
Date: Saturday, March 14
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT; 17.35 AEDT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Kane McBride, Mike Lash
TMO: Vinny Munro