Super Rugby: Newcastle duo in line for debut as part of new-look Waratahs

SUPER EFFORT: Nick Palmer at Waratahs training. The former Hamilton lock and Wanderers junior Harry Johnson-Holmes have been named on the Tahs bench for the season opener against the Stormers on Saturday.
SUPER EFFORT: Nick Palmer at Waratahs training. The former Hamilton lock and Wanderers junior Harry Johnson-Holmes have been named on the Tahs bench for the season opener against the Stormers on Saturday.

NEWCASTLE duo Nick Palmer and Harry Johnson-Holmes are among six new faces in the NSW side for the Waratahs’ Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Former Queensland Reds stalwart Rob Simmons and ex-Brumby Tom Staniforth are newcomers in the second row of a new-look pack. Lalakai Foketi starts at outside centre and ex-Force recruit Curtis Rona has been chosen on the wing 

Palmer and Johnson-Holmes are in line for their Super Rugby debut after being named on the bench for the battle with the South Africans.

A dual Newcastle premiership winner at Hamilton, Palmer beat former Australian under-20 captain Ryan McCauley for the back-up lock spot.

A Wanderers juniors, Harry-Johnson Holmes is part of the front-row rotation.

Both Novocastrians impressed during pre-season trials against the Highlanders and Melbourne Rebels. Johnson-Holmes, who is only 20 and studying at Sydney University, also played in the Brisbane Global Tens.

Palmer, who joined Norths in 2014, was sidelined for nine months in 2016-17 after rupturing his hamstring. 

NSW: Israel Folau, Andrew Kellaway Lalakai Foketi, Kurtley Beale Curtis Rona, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons. Tom Staniforth, Paddy Ryan, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Hugh Roach, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Shambeckler Vui, Nick Palmer, Jed Holloway, Mitch Short, Bryce Hegarty, Alex Newsome.