Waratahs sweating on Nawaqanitawase as they prepare for Crusaders

Waratahs sweating on Nawaqanitawase as they prepare for Crusaders

The NSW Waratahs will give winger Mark Nawaqanitawase every chance to be fit as he deals with hamstring soreness ahead of Saturday's clash with the Crusaders.

Nawaqanitawase was named for their Super Round match at AAMI Park, however, pulled up from training sore on Tuesday.

If out, Triston Reilly will start on the wing, elevating Jack Bowen to the bench as a late inclusion for the second week in a row.

"He is having scans and receiving treatment, and we will give him until later in the week to prove his fitness," Coleman said in a statement.

“We’re fortunate that Triston Reilly has successfully recovered from his ankle injury, and he will come into the starting side if Mark is unable to play.”

Nawaqanitawase's potential exclusion compounds a growing injury list for the Waratahs, with Izaia Perese (concussion) not making the trip to Melbourne.

With Lalakai Foketi (neck) out indefinitely, it leaves Joey Walton and Harry Wilson to combine in the centres.

Walton spent the majority of pre-season training at fullback, originally named there ahead of last week's defeat to the Reds.

"I suppose the idea of playing fullback came probably 8-10 weeks ago and I've pretty much been trained ever since, but I feel comfy in the midfield, I've been there for the last five years or so," Walton said.

"If it the other way around, I might have been in trouble but it was good and I felt comfortable and confident that I could just go back in.

"The beauty of pre-season is we've had a fair bit of movement around the centres so there's a few guys that have had some time and will be ready to jump in."

The Waratahs were boosted in the forward pack by the return of Ned Hanigan from a hamstring injury as Hugh Sinclair starts.

“The Crusaders have been so dominant for so long and we’re keen to take them on again," Walton added.

"We need to be at our best to beat the best. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Mahe Vailanu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jed Holloway, Hugh Sinclair, Fergus Lee-Warner, Charlie Gamble, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Joey Walton, Harry Wilson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Julian Heaven, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Dan Botha, Miles Amatosero, Ned Hanigan, Teddy Wilson, Mosese Tuipulotu, Triston Reilly

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