The Waratahs have loaded up a strong side that includes several Wallabies for their Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final clash against the Blues on Friday.
Jed Holloway returns to the starting line-up and will be joined by Ned Hanigan in the second-row. Dave Porecki also makes his return and starts alongside props Te Tera Faulkner and Archer Holz in the front-row.
More history for Hooper
Legendary Michael Hooper, who leads the side, is set to become the club’s fourth most-capped player as he starts in a loose trio with Lachlan Swinton and the talented number eight Langi Gleeson.
In the backline, fly-half Ben Donaldson is joined by scrum-half Harrison Goddard in the half-back pairing.
Outside of them is Lalakai Foketi and Joey Walton who combine in the midfield. Izaia Perese starts on the wing with Dylan Pietsch whilst Mark Nawaqanitawase is in the 15 jumper.
On the bench, hooker Mahe Vailanu and props Tom Lambert and Nephi Leatigaga make up some solid front-row options. While Taleni Seu and Charlie Gamble are the other forward replacements.
Teddy Wilson is joined by Tane Edmed and Harry Wilson as the remaining replacements.
Head coach Darren Coleman is looking for his team to bounce back from a disappointing final round loss against Moana Pasifika last time out.
“After disappointing and letting down our home town supporters in the last regular season game of the year at home on Saturday, we have re-set and are excited by the challenge to redeem ourselves,” he said.
“We understand the enormity of the opposition on their home patch, but its something we look forward to ripping into.
“We’ve had a good short week of prep and will play like a team with nothing to lose.”
Waratahs: 15 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Joey Walton, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Harrison Goddard, 8 Langi Gleeson, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Ned Hanigan, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Archer Holz, 2 Dave Porecki, 1 Te Tera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Tom Lambert, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Charlie Gamble, 21 Teddy Wilson, 22 Tane Edmed, 23 Harry Wilson
Date: Friday, June 9
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Stu Curran (New Zealand), Jackson Henshaw (New Zealand)
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