NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has brought in the experienced Stephen Hoiles to cover for Dave Dennis at blindside flanker for this Sunday’s final home match of the season at Allianz Stadium, after the skipper was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
After the Waratahs dominated the set piece against the Brumbies, there are no other changes up front.
Benn Robinson will become the most capped prop in Waratahs history (131 caps) when he starts at loosehead. On the other side, Sekope Kepu is at tighthead, with Tatafu Polota Nau at hooker. Kane Douglas has maintained his mortgage on one of the lock spots, the other will be taken by South African international Jacques Potgieter.
For the second time this season, Stephen Hoiles (33) will start at blindside flanker. Speedster Michael Hooper, who takes over as captain, is at openside and Wycliff Palu the No. 8.
The halves combination remains the same, with Nick Phipps wearing number nine and last week’s Magners Man of the Match Bernard Foley in 10: the pair has starting together in all 15 games so far this season.
Playmaker Kurtley Beale is at inside centre with his partner in running rugby, vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper, at outside centre.
On the wings are Rob Horne and two-try hero Alofa Alofa, with the mercurial Israel Folau at fullback.
Coach Cheika is still to trim his bench to the required eight and has named 10 players on the interchange. The final matchday will be confirmed later in the week.