Sydney - Openside flanker Michael Hooper will lead the Waratahs in his 81st Super Rugby game for the franchise in their opening Super Rugby match against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 10:45 SA time).
Four players in the starting line-up will make their Waratahs Super Rugby debuts: former NSW and Australia Schoolboys midfielder Lalakai Foketi, former Australian Under-20 captain and lock Tom Staniforth, his second row partner and Wallaby Rob Simmons and 2017 Wallaby Curtis Rona.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said they are ready for the season ahead.
“The game against the Stormers will be a physical contest and it’s a chance for our guys to show what they have, and what we have been focusing on delivering,” Gibson told the Waratahs’ official website.
“The kind of start we had against the Rebels last week was too slow for my liking, and we cannot afford to do that against the Stormers. We will need to up the tempo.”
15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach,
17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed
Holloway, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome
15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven KitshoffSubstitutes: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse ven Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 EW Viljoen