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Cross to start for Tahs against Force

08/02/2011 03:27:07 PM Comments (0)

Former NRL star Ryan Cross will start in the centres for the NSW Waratahs in their final pre-season hitout against his old Super rugby club the Western Force on Thursday at Shoalhaven.

NSW have made just two changes from the team that demolished the Fiji Warriors 41-13 last Friday with Cross one of those fresh faces at outside centre.

Cross, who had nine years in the NRL with Sydney Roosters before joining the Force in 2007, gets his chance to impress NSW coach Chris Hickey ahead of this year's Super rugby season opener against Melbourne on Friday week.

"Individually it is important players have the opportunity to perform and so we want to ensure they are all going into next week with significant game time under their belt," said Hickey.

"There are still a number of players in the curtain-raiser side who will be selected for round one and we are keen to see them have a good hit-out in that match."

The 31-year-old Cross signed a one-year deal with the Waratahs and will partner Tom Carter in the midfield.

Lachie Turner returns to the wing in place of Afa Pakalani for Friday's clash after an impressive performance at outside centre against Fiji.

Pakalani will now start for the Junior Waratahs in the curtain raiser against Western Force A.

Wallabies Benn Robinson (calf) and Rob Horne (elbow) have been left out of the match day squads, however they will continue to train with the team in the lead-up to the match.

A list of reserves who will receive game time across both matches is still being finalised.

NSW Waratahs: Kurtley Beale, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Tom Carter, Drew Mitchell, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (capt), Ben Mowen, Dean Mumm, Kane Douglas, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu. Res: TBA

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