SYDNEY – Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has made one change to his starting XV for Friday night’s Super Rugby clash against South African conference leaders, the Lions at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
Tom Staniforth returns to the starting side for the first time since round four against the Jaguares, joining Rob Simmons in the second row.
Ned Hanigan will slot back into blindside flanker, while Will Miller will make his impact off the bench that has taken a 6/2 formation.
Coach Daryl Gibson says the decision to include an extra forward is to combat the physicality and the firepower the 2017 Vodafone Super Rugby finalists will bring with their set piece.
“In the forward pack, we brought Tom Staniforth in and moved Will Miller to the bench.
"The reasons for that is we see this game being extremely physical and we wanted to have some bigger bodies in our forward pack to cater for the big South African pack,” Gibson said.
“We see that while the Lions have a real strength in their scrum, we have also opted to cover some injury concerns going into this game with a bolstered 6/2 bench with the forwards being catered for there.
“It’s always a risk going 6-2 because you’re one short in the backs, but we are willing to take that risk in preparation to what we see is going to be a hugely physical encounter.
“While we are one of the smaller packs going around, we are punching above our weight and we have certainly cleaned up our vulnerabilities in terms of stopping lineout drives.
"We see that as a real strength the Lions possess, and something we are going to have to be very good in stopping on Friday night.”
The Waratahs team is:
15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (95 - vice-capt), 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Will Miller, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Lalakai Foketi.
African News Agency (ANA)