Wallabies bolster Waratahs in Japan
RUGBY: A number of Wallabies will return for the NSW Waratahs tomorrow when the team runs out for its first Super Rugby game in Japan against the Sunwolves.
Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro will play his first Super Rugby match since last year’s semi-final defeat to the Highlanders after re-signing earlier this year following a spell with Glasgow Warriors.
He will also be joined by Australian internationals Tatafu Polota-Nau, Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Rob Horne (starting his 100th Super Rugby game) and Israel Folau in the starting line-up.
Head coach Daryl Gibson has named Matt Lucas to start with Wallaby Nick Phipps on the bench.
The Waratahs need a bonus-point win to keep the pressure on the Brumbies at the top of the Australian Conference.
Gibson was asked whether the Waratahs had thoughts on persuading Jarryd Hayne to play for the franchise.
"He’s a talented player and we’d be interested, everything is depending on our salary cap of course," Gibson said in Tokyo.
A number of players have been able to play for Super Rugby franchises with the Australian Rugby Union topping up salaries.
But that was normally on the proviso that code-swappers were eligible to play for the Wallabies, which under current rules, Haynes is not because of his decision to play for the Fiji Rugby Sevens side in London.
Gibson was asked if the the Waratahs could afford Hayne without that ARU top-up, and said: "Most of the top 20 or 30 players, I don’t know the absolute numbers, but certainly most of the players are all topped up to some degree.
"He has commercial value and the ARU would be keen to maximise that and get the best players playing our code."
Hayne is back in Australia for treatment on a hip injury.