Waratahs boss Michael Cheika has replaced injured flanker Dave Dennis with Stephen Hoiles for Sunday's clash with the Highlanders.
Waratahs boss Michael Cheika has replaced injured flanker and skipper Dave Dennis with Stephen Hoiles for Sunday's clash with the Highlanders in Sydney.
With Dennis sidelined for the rest of the season, Hoiles will wear the number six jersey, while Michael Hooper takes over the captaincy, as the Waratahs look to secure a home semi-final.
Cheika had other options, like moving Jacques Potgieter to the back row and bringing in Will Skelton or Mitchell Chapman at lock. But he opted for the experience of Hoiles, a former Brumbies captain, who has already played in 114 Super Rugby matches.
Cheika did say that he was planning to shuffle his pack again when the Waratahs face the Reds in their final league fiuxture of the season in Brisbane next weekend.
“The conservative thing to do is put Stephen straight in,” he told AAP.
“He's done it before.
“But I think we've shown in the past that we're looking to be far from conservative and we're looking to be more progressive in what we do.
“My experience tells me at this end of the season that if you try to hang in there and stay at the same standard, you'll fail.
“You've got to keep progressing and keep moving forward, evolving your game to give the opposition different things to deal with.”
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Dougles, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitch Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Jono Lance, 24 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 25 Cam Crawford (two to be omitted).
Date: Sunday, July 6
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 16.05 local (06.05 GMT, 07.05 BST)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)