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Kurtley Beale starts against Melbourne Rebels
ESPN Staff
January 31, 2014
New South Wales' Kurtley Beale runs with the ball during training, Centennial Park, Sydney, November 21, 2013
Does Beale's selection mean he is the Waratahs' first-choice fly-half? © Getty Images

Kurtley Beale will start at five-eighth ahead of Bernard Foley for New South Wales Waratahs in their Super Rugby pre-season trial against Melbourne Rebels in Albury on Saturday.

Former Wallabies back-rower Stephen Hoiles, on the comeback trail from a troublesome Achilles injury, will step up his bid for a contract when he starts alongside Beale and two more recruits - Jono Lance and Tala Gray - but Michael Cheika delayed naming his reserves bench. Paddy Ryan is the only player from the Wallabies' end-of-2013 tour in the starting side.

Jacques Potgieter will not face the Rebels, but the South African has finally joined his team-mates from Japan. Cheika wants his side to be the toughest in Super Rugby this year, and marquee signing Potgieter - who stands at 194cm and weighs 115kg - will be appointed chief enforcer, having won three caps for South Africa in 2012 after impressing with his physical and intimidatory approach for the Bulls.

Cheika said at the time of Potgieter's signing last year that he wanted a "no-nonsense, hard and strong ball carrier and tackler" to inject into his forward pack.

"He's a cult hero around the club already," Nick Phipps said. "Everyone is looking forward to him arriving. He's huge ... an absolute wrecking ball. Cheik said he wanted someone like that in the second row. He wants the forwards to be intense and intimidating and physical."

The Albury trial match will be played in quarters, to mitigate against forecast temperatures of 40C, and the Rebels will give their entire squad plus triallists a hit-out - with Scott Higginbotham and Hugh Pyle each returning from shoulder surgery while nine players will make their Rebels debut, including Luke Burgess, Tom Kingston and Lopeti Timani featuring against their former side for the first time. Japan international Shota Horie and former All Blacks centre Tamati Ellison will not feature as they are yet to join the squad following club commitments in Japan.

Waratahs starting VX: Ben Volavola; Peter Betham, Rob Horne, Jono Lance, Matt Carraro; Kurtley Beale, Brendan McKibbin; Tala Gray, Pat McCutcheon, Stephen Hoiles; Will Skelton, Greg Peterson; Paddy Ryan, Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse.

Rebels starting 15 - First Quarter: Tom Kingston; Alex Rokobaro, Lalakai Foketi, Lachlan Mitchell, Joe Kamana; Angus Roberts, Luke Burgess; Scott Higginbotham (captain), Jordy Reid, Sean McMahon; Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones; Laurie Weeks, Steve Foulau, Max Lahiff.

Second Quarter: Tom Kingston; Alex Rokobaro, Lachlan Mitchell, Lalakai Foketi, Joe Kamana; Angus Roberts, Ben Meehan; Scott Higginbotham (captain), Jordy Reid, Sean McMahon; Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones; Cruze Ah-Nau, Steve Foulau, Eddie Aholelei.

Third Quarter: Jason Woodward; Tom Kingston, Tom English, Mitch Inman, Telusa Veainu; Bryce Hegarty, Nic Stirzaker; Lopeti Timani, Scott Fuglistaller, Colby Fainga'a; Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle; Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith.

Fourth Quarter: Jason Woodward; Tom Kingston, Tom English, Mitch Inman, Telusa Veainu; Bryce Hegarty, Nic Stirzaker; Colby Fainga'a, Scott Fuglistaller, Sean McMahon; Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle; Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith.


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