The Waratahs have made two changes to their XV for Saturday's clash with the Brumbies, with Drew Mitchell and Paddy Ryan both starting.
The Waratahs have made two changes to their XV for Saturday's derby clash with the Brumbies, with wing Drew Mitchell and prop Paddy Ryan starting.
Ryan's inclusion at tighthead prop in place of Sekope Kepu is one of two changes to the side that last week beat the Stormers, with Mitchell also elevated from the bench in place of Peter Betham.
The game is the 'Tahs' first of the season at ANZ Stadium and head coach Michael Cheika's first visit to the venue.
“There's always something special about these Australian derby games because there's so much rivalry built up over all the years of playing each other. With the Brumbies also leading the competition, this is a very important game for us,” said Cheika.
“Last time we played them in Canberra back in Round 4, our effort was simply not good enough to compete with a very well drilled Brumbies outfit.
“Throughout this season, we've been working hard at developing our identity and becoming an honest hardworking team and I think now we're starting to play the kind of attacking running rugby that we want to be known for. How we play under the pressure of this match up will show how committed we are to play the brand of rugby that we want associated with NSW rugby.
“For me, building a winning mentality is about getting up for every game, about having that obsessive mentality every day in training as well as when you step out onto the pitch but there will be a little extra edge in the game, something I personally enjoy in rugby.
“The Brumbies have been showing the way all season. They're well ahead of us on the table, they're very disciplined in the way they play the game and they've got good leadership. I'm sure they'll think they will have an edge on us so it's up to us to respond in kind. We'll require the level of physicality that we showed against the Stormers last week plus 10 per cent.”
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau. 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (capt) 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Will Skelton, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Peter Betham.
Date: Saturday, May 18
Kick-off: 19:40 local (11:40 BST, 10:40 GMT)
Venue: ANZ Stadium. Sydney
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)