Super Rugby: Waratahs v Western Force match preview
The Waratahs have named Kurtley Beale at inside centre for their Super Rugby opener against Western Force.
Last Updated: 23/02/14 8:14am
Beale, who returned to the Waratahs during the off-season, has plenty of international experience at fly-half and full-back but does not usually play in the midfield pair.
The Waratahs go into the clash on the back of pre-season wins over the Blues and Highlanders and go into the clash against their fellow Australian side as big favourites.
The Force's pre-season programme saw them beat Samoa A and the Argentine Pampas and have won two and drawn one of their five matches against their hosts in Sydney.
Their former All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson is set to make his 100th Super Rugby match having made his debut for the Hurricanes back in 2007.
"I guess the Western Force always goes under the radar but we've been plodding away in the pre-season, going really well and working really hard and there is a good buzz around the group," Mathewson told The Australian.
"We're assuming that's going to be the media's mindset. The Waratahs on the bench are going to be Wallabies, they've got so many over there. But we know what we can do as a group."
Waratahs: 15 Folau, 14 Alofa, 13 Ashley-Cooper, 12 Beale, 11 Betham, 10 Foley, 9 Phipps; 1 Robinson, 2 Polota Nau, 3 Ryan, 4 Skelton, 5 Douglas, 6 Dennis, 7 Hooper, 8 Palu.
Replacements: 16 Latu, 17 Tilse, 18 Kepu, 19 Potgieter, 20 Hoiles/McCutcheon, 21 McKibbin, 22 Horne, 23 Carraro/Crawford.
Western Force: 15 Morahan, 14 Brache/Dellit, 13 Rasolea, 12 Godwin, 11 Cummins, 10 Ebersohn/Holmes, 9 Mathewson/Prior; 1 Cowan/Faulkner, 2 Charles/Tessmann, 3 Hoskins/Longbottom, 4 Wykes, 5 McMeniman/Steenkamp, 6 Alcock/Cottrell, 7 Hodgson (c), 8 McCalman/Stander.