Sydney - The return of scrumhalf Nick Phipps to the Waratahs starting XV is the only change to the run-on team that will take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday (kick-off 09:35 SA time).
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has also named rookie backrower Brad Wilkin on the bench, alongside veteran prop Paddy Ryan.
Gibson said Wilkin’s selection was reward for the 23-year-old’s hard work.
“Brad is a guy who consistently contributes at training, working away and it’s a great opportunity for him. We can’t get through this tournament without the whole squad contributing and this is his chance,” Gibson said.
Against the Chiefs, the Waratahs face opponents known for their physicality.
“That’s what we are expecting again this weekend. The way they play the game, they are strong in contact and at the breakdown. They are also good with ball in hand from loose play so we cannot afford to be loose in any way,” Gibson said.
“It is no secret that we like to play positive rugby with the ball in hand, that’s a combination of what we have been doing at training. At the same time, we are really trying to tighten up our turnovers because with adventure comes mistakes.”
Gibson said the challenge for the team this weekend is to continue the momentum from last week’s win against the Highlanders.
“Our performance last week was pleasing, and on par with what we were projecting. This weekend we want an even more improved performance because consistency is important.”
15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu,
13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 11 Sean Wainui, 10
Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitch Karpik, 6 Luke
Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2
Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson
Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele
Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7
Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom
Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty