Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has made five changes to his side for Saturday's Super Rugby derby clash with the Brumbies.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has made five changes to his side for Saturday's Super Rugby derby clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.
Impressive off the bench in the first two round, youngster Ben Volavola will make his first start for the Waratahs.
“Ben's just earned it – he's forced me to pick him by coming on and playing really well,” said Cheika.
“Ben's form, the way he's playing the game and the combination he's forging with Bernard Foley is something I just couldn't ignore.”
The other newcomer is lock Sita Timani who returns to the side after recovering from a cork.
Cheika has also made three positional changes to accommodate Volavola's arrival and the absence of number eight Wycliff Palu, who is ruled out with an ankle injury. Lock Mitchell Chapman moves to blindside with captain Dave Dennis taking over at eight and Israel Folau will start on the right wing in place of Tom Kingston.
Named amongst the replacements, Pat McCutcheon makes his return to action after twelve months on the sidelines, following a serious ankle injury sustained in Round 3 last season.
Hooker Luke Holmes, scrum-half Matt Lucas and wing Lachie Turner are also included on the bench, alongside Lopeti Timani, Paddy Ryan and Greg Peterson.
“These guys have all done well in the pre-season but I need to give them opportunities to play, it's not a case of anyone else having done anything wrong,” said Cheika.
The match will see Sekope Kepu and Dave Dennis earn their 50th caps for the Waratahs.
Waratahs: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Greg Peterson, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Lachie Turner.
Date: Saturday, 9 March
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)