Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says he can’t make any guarantees that his side’s Wallabies will fulfil their World Cup resting requirements after naming a full-strength side to face the Brumbies.
Gibson has named all of his available Test players for a must-win derby against the Brumbies on Saturday night, leaving him with a daunting equation in round 18.
The Waratahs, by Gibson’s own admission, are still required to rest Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley for a match under the national policy.
Should the Waratahs beat the Brumbies this weekend, they will still be in finals contention ahead of that final round and Gibson has maintained he will pick his strongest team as long as playoffs are on the table.
A loss would end their finals chances and make it an easy decision to leave those players out of their trip to face the Highlanders in Invercargill next weekend.
If they can take a victory on Saturday, Gibson said he couldn’t give a guarantee that all those players would be left at home.
“Of course ,that’s a hypothetical problem for next week,” he said.
“We want to look at it then. Am I going to make any guarantees? No.”
Gibson said his decision to field his strongest team was all about trying to keep their finals hopes alive, with any resting discussion to be left for next week.
“I think that gives us an opportunity to see what next week holds for us,” he said.
“If we don’t win this weekend all bets are off, we’ve got no opportunity to qualify for the finals, so the focus has been on this week, let’s get an outcome if we can.
“We’re in a situation where we need to get an outcome in this game to remain in the competition and we’re giving our Australian players of national interest an opportunity to play against their peers.
“We’re going to get through Saturday and if the result goes our way, then we’ll have those conversations (with the Wallabies).”
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar welcomed the Waratahs’ move to pick their Wallabies for the derby.
“That’d be another kick the game wouldn’t need,” he said.
“I think we want to see all the best players playing. We want to play against the best players and I’m sure that Daryl will be running out his strongest possible team on Saturday, that’s what we expect and that’s what he hope.”
McKellar had a somewhat cheeky response when asked if he would have any concerns should the Waratahs fail to fulfil their players’ resting requirements.
“That’s not for me to worry about,” he said.
“That’s for Daryl and Cheik to sort that sort of stuff out. Good fella Daryl, he knows what’s right.”
The Brumbies have used many of their overseas trips to rest players this season, leaving a host of Wallabies at home when they travelled to take on the Crusaders earlier this season.
The Waratahs take on the Brumbies on Saturday June 8 at Bankwest Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.
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