Waratahs coach Darren Coleman says Jamie Roberts won’t be sure to start, Michael Hooper will miss opening game

Despite taking part in two British and Irish Lions tours and a couple of World Cup campaigns, Coleman didn’t stop at guaranteeing a starting spot for Roberts, who arrives in Australia next week. He has not played Test rugby since 2017.

“Whether he starts or not, that remains to be seen,” Coleman said. “I’ve talked to incumbents – Lalakai and Joey and Izzy – and everyone is just excited to have a player [with] 90 Test caps and British and Irish Lions tours. It’s not like he didn’t do anything. He may not be at his best physically from what he was six or seven years ago, but he still plays at a high level of professional rugby.”

The Waratahs have their first test game against the Brumbies at Bowral this Saturday, but Hooper will not be involved.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper missed Australia’s final test of the year. Credit:Getty

The Wallabies skipper sustained a Lisfranc injury in the November Test against England and will miss the start of the Super Rugby Pacific season. It delays Hooper’s return to NSW after his Japanese sabbatical last year.

“We won’t have him before the start of the competition,” Coleman said. “We’re just working with Michael and the medical people and RA about exactly when that is. It will be early in the season. It probably won’t be for the first round.”

Meanwhile, Coleman said talks are progressing well to bring Beale back to the Waratahs in 2023.

Beale in action during Wallabies training ahead of the team test against Scotland last year.

Beale in action during Wallabies training ahead of the team test against Scotland last year. Credit:Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media

The 93-Test Wallaby has ambitions to represent the men in gold at the 2023 World Cup.

A French report suggested that Beale had turned down a contract extension with Racing 92.

Coleman, who coached Beale in Northern Suburbs more than a decade ago, said a deal is about to be announced, which will see Beale return to where his Super Rugby career began in 2007, having left for Europe in 2020.

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“We’ve been chatting with Kurtley for a while, just like” [Wallabies coach] Dave [Rennie]Coleman said. “It comes very close. I don’t think it’s official or completely over yet. No chance of him being here in Super Rugby in 2022.

“My chats with him [are that] he will fulfill his contract and end up with Racing, which is at the end of our season. If we get him back, and I really hope we do, it’s only for ’23.

“He went away and experienced some things abroad. He tasted that Wallaby experience at the end of last year. That drove him to the interest he shows at the moment. I know Kurtley personally and I have no problems. He will be a positive influence on the group.”

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