Johnson-Holmes to make Waratahs debut

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Sydney University Football Club prop Harry Johnson-Holmes will make his NSW Waratahs debut on Friday night in a trial match against the Highlanders in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The former Australian Schoolboy and Under 20 representative is one of six SUFC members selected in the NSW squad for the first trial of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

The other SUFC members are props Paddy Ryan and Tom Robertson, halfback Jake Gordon, flanker Brad Wilkin and backrower Lachlan Swinton.

NSW coach Daryl Gibson has named a new look side featuring seven Waratahs making their debuts. Hooker Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood) will captain the team for the first time while Johnson-Holmes, locks Nick Palmer and Tom Staniforth, flanker Will Miller, centre Lalakai Foketi, and wingers Alex Newsome and Curtis Rona will all wear the NSW Waratahs jersey for the first time.

After a long preseason, Gibson said he was looking forward to watching some of the squad’s fresh faces in action on Friday.

“These matches provide us with the opportunity to test combinations while at the same time give the players who have completed the majority of pre-season the opportunity to perform and build our team identity. All the players have been super in their approach and deserve an opportunity.  Friday night’s game will give us an excellent assessment on where we are at in our preparation cycle,” he said.

“I have made it very clear to the team that 2018 is about delivering on our potential, performing and being at our best. The young players are hungry to push for a regular spot in the starting line-up, which creates healthy competition in the squad.”