Lions Tour - Australia lock Dennis to lead Waratahs against Lions

Lock Dave Dennis will lead a New South Wales Waratahs side shorn of eight players on international duty for their tour match against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney.

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Dave Dennis (PA Photos)

The Waratahs captain, capped 15 times for Australia, was belatedly released from the Wallabies training camp to be available for selection for the match at Sydney Football Stadium along with 14-Test back Rob Horne.

The 23-year-old Horne, who scored two of Australia's five tries in their 3-0 series whitewash of Wales last year, will line up at centre, with 63-cap Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell adding a further dash of class at fullback for the Sydney-based Super Rugby side.

Australian rugby has come under heavy criticism for fielding under-strength provincial teams against the Lions, with former coach Clive Woodward lashing out again after the tourists' 64-0 thrashing of the Combined Country side on Tuesday.

Apart from Dennis and Horne, two players from Australia's national sevens side in Bernard Foley and Matt Lucas were released from international duties to link up with the Waratahs.

Foley will line up at fly-half and Lucas was named on the bench as a replacement back.

Although an apparent concession in response to the controversy over the under-strength teams, the players' release from their respective camps is unlikely to quell the grumbling entirely, with another clutch of Test-capped Waratah players ruled out of the match due to injury.

"We're playing against a team with a massive artillery," Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said.

"Obviously I'd like to have all our international players available but fair play to the ARU to giving us Dave and Rob back and for releasing Bernard and Matt from the sevens camp.

"We've been all about trying to develop a winning attitude, no matter who's in the jersey. The odds are against us, massively, but we'll try and buck them.

"As long as there's a chance, we'll take it. Anything in red that moves, we'll have a crack at. We need to play our game and do it as best we can and see what happens."

The Waratahs, who defeated a near-full strength Western Force in their Super Rugby match in Perth on Sunday despite missing the majority of their starting side, will also boast up-and-coming prop Paddy Ryan.

Ryan made his Test debut against France in the season-ending northern hemisphere tour last year and will start in the tighthead position.

Team: 15-Drew Mitchell, 14-Cam Crawford, 13-Rob Horne, 12-Tom Carter, 11-Peter Betham, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Brendan McKibbin, 8-Dave Dennis (captain), 7-Pat McCutcheon, 6-Jed Holloway, 5-Ollie Atkins, 4-Will Skelton, 3-Paddy Ryan, 2-John Ulugia, 1-Jeremy Tilse

Reserves: 16-Luke Holmes, 17-Richard Aho, 18-Sam Talakai, 19-Lopeti Timani, 20-AJ Gilbert, 21-Matt Lucas, 22-Ben Volavola, 23-Tom Kingston

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