Berrick Barnes will captain the Waratahs in the first half of their pre-season clash with Samoa this weekend, before the Sydney side wheel out a completely different team after half-time.
In a bid to ensure the whole squad benefit from match action ahead of their big Super Rugby opener against current champions the Queensland Reds later this month, in his first match at the helm head coach Michael Foley has selected two full teams for the encounter, with each side contesting two, 30 minute quarters.
Daniel Halangahu, Barnes' replacement at flyhalf, will skipper the second-half combination as Foley looks carefully at all of his options ahead of the crunch opening clash with the Reds.
"We've chosen this format to try and give most players 60 minutes of rugby to best complement our pre-season training," he said. "Our mandate is to produce 80 minute players and giving most of the guys 60 minutes of trial match rugby is an important progression towards that goal."
The versatile Barnes will lead a team that five further internationals, plus hotly-tipped debutant Sarel Pretorius.
After the half-time whistle, Barnes will pass the captain's armband and No. 10 jersey to Halangahu, who will lead a youthful and exciting looking combination including former Australian Sevens player Bernard Foley and highly rated back rower Lopeti Timani, younger brother of crowd favourite Sitaleki.
"Berrick is part of our leadership group and Daniel (Halangahu) is one of our senior professionals. Both are key decision makers for us and suit what we are trying to achieve," foley explained.
The match will see new recruit Pretorius in action for his new side for the first time. The highly rated scrumhalf, well known for his tryscoring ability, first caught the Waratahs' attention at the beginning of last year when assistant coach Scott Bowen spotted his potential in the Cheetahs' 23-3 Super Rugby victory over the home side.
The 26-year-old has since established himself as one of Super Rugby's leading scrumhalves, topping the competition's tryscorers list and being named Super Rugby Player of the Year for 2011 by the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Another player sure to be a crowd favourite is country boy Pat McCutcheon. The Narromine-born flank will start at No. 8 and lead the pack, with Chris Alcock assuming the No. 7 jersey.
"Pat has played at No.8 for Sydney University and with Wycliff Palu out for this game, this is an opportunity for us to look at two or three different players (at No. 8)," said Foley.
Newcomer Adam Ashley-Cooper will have to wait until next week when the side takes on Tonga at the Sydney Football Stadium to make his expected debut after being rested on this occasion.
There are a number of players who are on the road to recovery such as wings Drew Mitchell (ankle) and Atieli Pakalani (shoulder), Wycliff Palu (hamstring) and Benn Robinson (knee), who are all expected back for the opening Super Rugby match against the Reds.
Captain Rocky Elsom is expected to recover from his hamstring injury within a month, while Sitaleki Timani will be unavailable due to Japanese club commitments until round two and experienced lock Dan Vickerman is forecast to return to action following his shoulder injury in April.
Waratahs (first half): 15 Brackin Karauria-Henry, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Berrick Barnes (captain), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Waratahs (second half): 15 Toby Browne, 14 Nathan Trist, 13 Michael Hodge, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Daniel Halangahu (captain), 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Seilala Lam, 6 Tevita Metuisela, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Richard Stanford, 3 John Ulugia, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements: 16 Lotu Taukeiaho, 17 Liam Winton, 18 Jono Jenkins, 19 Grayson Hart, 20 Jesse Leota, 21 Tom Hill.
Date: Friday, February 10
Venue: Scully Park, Tamworth
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