Jorgensen set to be left out for Hurricanes as Schmidt drops in at Tahs training


Darren Coleman is set to continue his back three changes, with Max Jorgensen to miss the Waratahs’ tricky assignment at the Cake Tin in Wellington against the top-of-the-table Hurricanes.

The Roar understands Jorgensen, 19, will be left out of the match and play for Randwick in the Shute Shield, with another Galloping Greens outside back Dylan Pietsch set to return.

He won’t be the only change to the side either, with Will Harrison expected to be promoted ahead of Tane Edmed at fly-half and Izaia Perese to return for Joey Walton, who was on crutches after suffering an injury during the Waratahs’ 38-22 loss to the Chiefs last Friday in Sydney.

Coleman is set to go hunting in the Shute Shield to call up some more players to help patch up their ever-mounting injury toll up front.

But it’s Jorgensen’s exclusion that will set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Max Jorgensen is set to be left out of the Waratahs’ side for their clash against the Hurricanes while Will Harrison is likely to start ahead of Tane Edmed at fly-half. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It’s the third straight week Coleman has made changes to his back three, with Mark Nawaqanitawase, Pietsch and now Jorgensen all being given a week off to try and rediscover their best form.

In all three cases, the exciting backs have yet to find their best form in 2024 with Pietsch the best of the trio.

Last week Coleman said the depth the Waratahs had in the outside backs meant he was hoping to try and bring the best out of his players.

“Mark’s back in this week and Dylan has a week out and, again, not through form, it’s a bit around rotation,” Coleman said.

“We’ve got three really good wingers. We want to keep players engaged, in form and match fit and now Marky gets his shot.

“I know for a fact missing out against the Crusaders hurt him. He cares about the team and he really wants to finish this rugby stint on a high, so now he gets the chance to make sure he’s undroppable.”

After scoring in each of his first three matches last year, Jorgensen has yet to find the same try-scoring form as his maiden season in 2023.

Jorgensen, who signed an expensive two-year extension deal last month, has also been guilty of handing over possession in promising positions as he’s looked to keep the ball alive.

They’re teething problems for a young player of immense potential.

Mark Nawaqanitawase is expected to play fullback ahead of Max Jorgensen. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Jorgensen was locked in conversations with Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon, with the new Wallabies coach a notable face on a wet and windy day in Sydney.

Coleman has long said that the Waratahs would ensure they don’t overcook Jorgensen so early in his career, but the decision to send him back to Super Rugby will raise some eyebrows given the mega bucks he’s on for such a young player.

Nawaqanitawase is likely to shift from the wing to fullback to cover the absence of Jorgensen, allowing Pietsch to form a wing combination with Pietsch, who scored on his return to the Galloping Greens last week.

Reilly, who spent last year with the Wests Tigers, said the competition for spots in the back three was fierce.

“We’re on all our toes, no one is safe,” Reilly told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ve all got to keep working hard. We’re all very close and learning off each other.”

Rather than kick stones, Reilly also said the week back in Shute Shield under Stephen Hoiles had proven refreshing.

“It’s been good to put some consistent games together,” he said.

“It was pretty refreshing going back to Randwick, having a game there three weeks ago.

“Hopefully I can stay in the team for the rest of the season and keep putting performances together that I’m proud of.”

Triston Reilly has been in strong form for the Waratahs in 2024. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Reilly said Schmidt’s presence at training had given the Waratahs a little boost ahead of their clash against the competition leaders, but the outside back added that the squad had to front us physically to stand a chance on Friday.

“We want to play what we see in front of us,” he said.

“We know defensively they’re going to be big and we’ve got to be physical in our defence.

“Attack wise, we’ve got to be flat and fast, we’ve got to be moving the ball into space otherwise we’ll be shut down. They’ve got a really hard defensive line, so we’ve got to be willing to take those hard carries.”

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