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Foley back for Waratahs in Super Rugby

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/03/2017 Darren Walton

Bernard Foley has been named to make his long-awaited return while Israel Folau reverts to fullback for the NSW Waratahs' Super Rugby match with the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.

Foley is back after missing the Waratahs' opening four games due to concussion while Folau has been moved from the centres.

Wallaby halfback Nick Phipps will drop to the bench, in a backline shake-up by coach Daryl Gibson.

Gibson had forecast personnel changes after the Waratahs' worst-ever start to a season and he delivered with the biggest upheaval of his two-season reign as head coach.

Jake Gordon will replace Phipps in the No.9 jumper, while Rob Horne shifts from the wing to outside centre to accommodate Folau's return to fullback.

Horne will form a new-look midfield pairing with David Horwitz, who comes in for the injured Irae Simone.

Andrew Kellaway goes from fullback to wing.

In the forwards, Ned Hanigan has replaced Jack Dempsey in the back row after the blindside flanker suffered a season-ending ankle injury in last Saturday night's 28-12 home loss to the Brumbies.

"We need to get our combinations clicking. Up until now we have been far too inconsistent and the mistakes have been on us to fix," Gibson said.

"We are pleased to have Bernard back. His absence has certainly been felt in those first four rounds.

"The short turnaround I think has been good for us this week on the back of Saturday night's loss.

"The team came in Monday eager to do what needs to be done to get us out where we are right now.

"The Melbourne Rebels won't be an easy side to face at home and certainly they were unlucky to get the loss they did last week.

"They will be as eager as we are to get the win on Friday night."

Waratahs: Israel Folau, Reece Robinson, Rob Horne, David Horwitz, Andrew Kellaway, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Hugh Roach, Paddy Ryan, David Lolohea, David McDuling, Michael Wells, Nick Phipps, Cam Clark, Taqele Naiyaravoro.

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