Super Rugby QF teams: Tahs keep faith with Donaldson, Nawaqanitawase as Barrett returns for Blues


It’s do-or-die time, with the Super Rugby quarter-finals upon us.

Read all the team news below.

Blues vs Waratahs at Eden Park: Friday, 5:35pm AEST

Darren Coleman has kept faith in his backline that struggled last week, persisting with Ben Donaldson in the No.10 jersey for their quarter-final against the Blues at Eden Park.

Despite the two-Test Wallaby playing the majority of the year at fly-half, Donaldson’s form had hardly set the world alight.

It left Coleman with a decision to make: stick with Donaldson at 10, return to the Tane Edmed-Donaldson 10-15 combination that started the year, or drop him to the bench.

Despite Edmed’s recent return from injury, Coleman has named the same backline as last week as he’s persisted with Donaldson at fly-half and Mark Nawaqanitawase at fullback. Whether that’s the team that runs out remains to be seen.

Ben Donaldson has been named at fly-half, but whether that is the team that runs out remains to be seen. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

It’s a brave call, but one the Waratahs thought was their best backline after Max Jorgensen’s season-ending injury left them with few alternative options.

Elsewhere, Dave Porecki returns at hooker after sitting out last week’s shock loss to the previously winless Moana Pasifika.

He’s joined in a brand new front-row, with Te Tera Faulkner and Archer Holz returning up front.

Jed Holloway has recovered from a couple of corks to partner Ned Hanigan in the second-row, while Langi Gleeson comes in for Taleni Seu at No.8.

The bench has a combination of experience in the forwards and youth in the backline, with Junior Wallabies captain Teddy Wilson joining his brother Harry and Edmed as replacements.

Meanwhile, the Blues have welcomed back Beauden Barrett in the No.10 jersey after missing the past couple of weeks because of a foot injury.

Tom Robinson returns to partner James Tucker in the second-row after Patrick Tuipulotu was ruled out of the rest of the Super Rugby season with a broken arm.

While Akira Ioane starts at blindside flanker in a formidable back-row which includes Dalton Papalii and Hoskins Sotutu.

Caleb Clark misses the match following his early withdrawal last week and has been replaced by AJ Lam.

Dalton Papalii and Beauden Barrett of the Blues

Dalton Papalii and Beauden Barrett will line up against the Waratahs on Friday. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

It’s not just form that the Waratahs must overcome, with history stacked against Coleman’s side.

Just once since Super Rugby began have the Waratahs won at Eden Park. That victory came in 2009, with current Blues assistant Daniel Halangahu scoring 18 points in their upset win. You have to go way back to 1928 for their previous win.

Blues (1-15): Ofa Tuungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Nepo Laulala, Tom Robinson, James Tucker, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii (c), Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, AJ Lam, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, Mark Telea, Zarn Sullivan

Replacements: Kurt Eklund, Jordan Lay, Marcel Renata, Cameron Suafoa, Anton Segner, Sam Nock, Harry Plummer, Stephen Perofeta

Waratahs (1-15): Te Tera Faulkner, Dave Porecki, Archer Holz, Jed Holloway, Ned Hanigan, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper (c), Langi Gleeson, Harrison Goddard, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch, Lalakai Foketi, Joey Walton, Izaia Perese, Mark Nawaqanitawase

Replacements: Mahe Vailanu, Tom Lambert, Nephi Leatigaga, Taleni Seu, Charlie Gamble, Teddy Wilson, Tane Edmed, Harry Wilson

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Chiefs vs Reds at FMG Stadium: Saturday, 2:35pm AEST

Chiefs (1-15):


Referee: Angus Gardner

Reds (1-15): TBC


Crusaders vs Drua at Orangetheory Stadium: Saturday, 5:05pm AEST

Crusaders: TBC

Drua: TBC

Referee: Brendon Pickerill

Brumbies vs Hurricanes at GIO Stadium: Saturday, 7:35pm AEST

Brumbies: TBC

Hurricanes: TBC

Referee: Nic Berry

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