Super Rugby
Waratahs call on Crawford
April 17, 2013
Wycliff Palu tries to break through the Brumbies' defence, Waratahs v Brumbies, Super Rugby, Sydney, Australia, July 7, 2012
Wycliff Palu will make a welcome return for New South Wales Waratahs against the Chiefs © Getty Images

Big winger Cam Crawford has been handed a tough Super Rugby starting debut for New South Wales Waratahs in their clash with defending champions the Chiefs on Friday night.

Coach Michael Cheika named 24-year-old Crawford in his team on Wednesday, relegating Peter Betham to the bench for the Allianz Stadium match.

Standing an imposing 193cm tall and weighing 98kg, Crawford has had only one previous taste of Super Rugby, coming off the bench for the Brumbies in a clash with the Western Force last season.

But Cheika said he'd impressed since joining the Waratahs squad and probably should have been given an opportunity earlier.

Crawford will have his hands full on defence as he's expected to line up against the fast and elusive Asaeli Tikoirotuma, who forms part of a potent Chiefs backline.

He is one of three changes to the starting team that lost to the Hurricanes two weeks ago before the bye, with Wallabies Tatafu Polota-Nau and Wycliff Palu returning to the pack after proving their fitness in Sydney club games last Saturday.

Still to finalise his replacements, Cheika has named an eight-man bench including another newcomer, Sydney University lock Will Skelton.

Waratahs: Israel Folau; Cam Crawford, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell; Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin; Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu; Sitaleki Timani, Kane Douglas; Dave Dennis (captain), Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu. Replacements: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Will Skelton, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Peter Betham (one to be admitted).


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