The return from injury of giant Wallabies lock Will Skelton and the debuts of speedsters Reece Robinson and Zac Guildford are major points of interest for NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson heading into Saturday’s Super Rugby trial against the Brumbies.
Skelton is the only Wallaby World Cup player included by Gibson for the clash with the Brumbies in Wagga Wagga.
The towering second-rower’s World Cup campaign was cut short by a torn pectoral.
Gibson anticipated Skelton would play around 30 to 40 minutes of Saturday’s hitout.
“He’s had an excellent recovery from his injury and come through all of the tests that we’ve required him to pass,” Gibson said on Thursday.
“He’s had that layoff for two or three months and it’s important he gets game time, gets his game fitness back.”
Two other injured World Cup squad members, winger Rob Horne and fullback Israel Folau, will be back for the Waratahs’ second and third trials respectively.
Former All Blacks winger Guildford has been given a chance to impress from fullback.
“He has played there during ITM Cup (in New Zealand) and I like what he does,” Gibson said.
“He has a lot of work rate about him, he gets around the field and gets a lot of touches on the ball.
“I want to make sure that in the event that we don’t have a fullback, he can play there.”
Former NRL winger Robinson makes his first Waratahs start on the right wing.
“What Reece offers is the type of winger that we don’t have,” Gibson said.
“Very fast, finishes well and I think, on the end of our backline, providing it can create him those opportunities, it could be very exciting and he’ll finish those.”
Gibson said he was interested at looking at different combinations.
He confirmed there was still a question mark about inside centre, outside of Kurtley Beale, with former Australian five-eighth David Horwitz starting there against the Brumbies.
The 26-man squad contains 11 uncapped players.
Waratahs squad: Zac Guildford, Reece Robinson, Matt Carraro, David Horwitz, Andrew Kellaway, Andrew Deegan, Jake Gordon, Jed Holloway, Jack Dempsey, David Dennis (capt), Will Skelton, Ned Hanigan, Paddy Ryan, Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse. Res: Tolu Latu, Benn Robinson, Angus Taavao, Matt Sandell, Senio Toleafoa, Matt Lucas, Harry Jones, Bryce Hegarty, Brad Wilkin, Cameron Orr, Rowan Perry.