Waratahs start Beale at inside centre

Date published: February 18 2014

Waratahs utility back Kurtley Beale will start at inside centre when his side face the Western Force in Sydney on Sunday.

Waratahs utility back Kurtley Beale will start at inside centre when his side face the Western Force in Sydney on Sunday.

Beale will line up outside Bernard Foley, who has won the initial battle for the number 10 jersey.

“They've both had some good touches in the trials and have enjoyed playing alongside each other,” Waratahs boss Michael Cheika told the Sydney-based franchise's official website.

“It may take a little longer for them to gel but I'll give them the time.”

Foley gives the Waratahs the shape and direction that Cheika is looking for and while Beale will also be playing to instructions, he provides the X-factor.

The Sydneysiders' back-line is laden with players ready to showcase their skills.

Israel Folau was in a world of his own in the number 15 jersey last season. With a season of rugby under his belt he's sure to keep opposition defences on their toes from full-back.

Making his debut on the right wing is the quick-stepping Alofa Alofa, whilst Wallaby Peter Betham is on the left.

In his favourite position at outside centre and partnering Beale is Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Joining the franchise after a stint with the Rebels, scrum-half Nick Phipps becomes the fourth member of his family to play for the Waratahs.

In the pack, the front row is all-Wallaby, with Benn Robinson and Tatafu Polota Nau teaming up with Paddy Ryan, who edges out Sekope Kepu.

“Both have their pluses and there is very little between them but Paddy has had a little bit more aggression and grunt in the trials,” said Cheika on his decision.

Selecting the locks has been one of the hardest decisions for the coach, who has opted for Kane Douglas and 21-year-old Will Skelton and left out Springbok Jacques Potgieter.

“I think Skelton has done enough to warrant an opportunity,” added Cheika.

Captain Dave Dennis and Michael Hooper are the flankers, with the seasoned Wycliff Palu playing No. 8.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Stephen Hoiles/Pat McCutcheon, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro/Cam Crawford.

Date: Sunday, February 23
Kick off: 16:05 (local), 05:05 (GMT)
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)