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Super Rugby: Waratahs v Reds match preview
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Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has named an unchanged side to take on the Waratahs at ANZ Stadium in Sydney this weekend.
Graham said he wanted to reward the 23-man squad that secured a 27-17 win over the Brumbies in their opening match of the Super Rugby season.
"We needed to start the season strongly. We have a number of away games to begin our campaign and, as a group, we understand the significance of beginning with a win," said Graham.
"That being said, I thought it was important for us to recognise their efforts and give the same 23 another opportunity against the Waratahs.
"Michael Cheika wants to base a large part of their game play on a physical and abrasive style. However, we expect them to try to challenge us and throw the ball around as well."
With the oldest rivalry in Australian Rugby and the Templeton Cup on the line this weekend, Graham said his players had all the motivation they needed to notch their second win of the season.
"There's massive history between these two teams and our players love the rivalry," Graham said.
"We've won the Templeton Cup in our last five encounters and that is something that the playing group is hugely proud of. They also understand what it means to Queensland Rugby and the players who have gone before them."
This weekend's match sees the potential for Reds fly-half Quade Cooper to break the existing points-scoring record for a Reds player in Super Rugby. The record is currently held by Elton Flatley, who scored 629 points in 86 Super Rugby appearances. Cooper currently sits on 620 points scored in 89 games.
This is not to be confused with the overall points-scoring record for Queensland prior to the inception of Super Rugby, which is held by Michael Lynagh on 1,166 points.
For the hosts, Michael Hooper will captain the Waratahs for the first time this Saturday after the late withdrawal of Dave Dennis.
Initially expected to be fit, Dennis has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained in Sunday's 43-21 bonus-point win over the Western Force.
His place in the starting XV will be taken by Stephen Hoiles, with Pat McCutcheon joining the bench.
Waratahs (revised): 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements (from): 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Jonno Lance.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com