BERRICK BARNES has been ruled out of the Waratahs’ opening Super Rugby match against the Reds in Sydney on Saturday night, with Daniel Halangahu set to captain the side from first five.
Barnes has failed to recover from a groin strain which has hampered him at training this week.
Halangahu takes his spot at first five and also inherits the captaincy duties.
Barnes’ is a big loss for the ‘Tahs, with his cool head and assured kicking game central to their title aspirations this season.
But coach Michael Foley is confident Halangahu is up to the task of guiding the team around the park.
“Berrick and Daniel shared the captaincy and No 10 duties in both our trial matches and both were well placed to lead us in the first match. We’re confident in Daniel’s abilities as a player and a leader,” he says.
New recruits, Wallabies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper and ex-Cheetahs halfback Sarel Pretorius, have also been named in the starting team.
Pretorius will also have a big challenge on his hands when he comes up against the world’s best No 9, Will Genia.
Tom Kingston and Brackin Karauria-Henry come in on the wings for injured Wallabies Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell respectively.
Dave Dennis slots in at blindside for injured skipper Rocky Elsom and Chris Alcock will wear the No 7 jersey vacated by Phil Waugh.
Dean Mumm and Kane Douglas are the locks in the absence of Dan Vickerman (injured) and Sitaleki Timani (still in Japan).
Waratahs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Kingston, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Daniel Halangahu (c), Sarel Pretorius, Wycliff Palu, Chris Alcock, Dave Dennis, Dean Mumm, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson
Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Paddy Ryan, Lopeti Timani, Jono Jenkins, Brendan McKibbin, Bernard Foley, Nathan Trist
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.