The cavalry is coming.
As the winless Waratahs fight to turn their dismal season around against the Reds at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, the Herald has learned Izaia Perese, Angus Bell and Will Harris are all expected to be named in Rob Penney’s 23-man squad on Wednesday night.
Perese hasn’t played since the Waratahs’ record defeat to Saturday’s opponents in round one. The promising centre was shown a red card for a dangerous spear tackle on star Reds back Hunter Paisami and subsequently suspended for three matches.
He missed the thumping at the hands of the Brumbies, the close loss to the Force and the last start defeat at the hands of the Rebels but will be a welcome inclusion in midfield.
His return will leave Penney with a rare selection headache. Alex Newsome has filled in at No.13 in Perese’s absence, but will almost certainly return to the wing. That will force one of the current back three – Jack Maddocks, Mark Nawaqanitawase and James Ramm – back to the bench.
Up front, the return of Bell will also be timely. The Wallabies prop has missed the last two matches due to an ankle complaint, and that has left Penney little choice but to chop and change Tetera Faulkner and Harry Johnson-Holmes at loosehead prop.
If Bell is given the nod to start, Faulkner will be almost certainly be the man that goes back to the bench.
Promising loose forward Harris was given a chance to start the season in place of Lachlan Swinton but hasn’t played in the three matches since due to a shoulder injury.