The Waratahs have wasted no time with recent signing Taqele Naiyaravoro as he has been included in the starting line up for the first ever match against the Sunwolves in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.
The international centre is named on the wing for the first time since the Waratahs’ semi-final against the Highlanders in June last year.
It will be a highly-anticipated return for the 130kg 24-year-old, after making a name for himself as a potent try-scorer during his previous two years with the Waratahs in 2014 and 2015.
Naiyaravoro made his first 2016 appearance on Australian soil last weekend, crossing for his second try in as many Tests after being slotted into the Wallabies’ squad for the England series upon his return from a stint overseas.
Matt Lucas has been handed the opportunity to run on as halfback this week, in what will be just his second start for the Waratahs since his Super Rugby debut for NSW in 2013.
Lucas has continued to impress at training and as a reliable support off the bench for the Waratahs all season, after re-joining the Club at the start of the year. Keen to add to their first few tries for the Tahs this year, determined flanker, Jack Dempsey and speedy winger, Reece Robinson are also back in the starting XV.
Club Captain Dave Dennis will shift to the number eight position. The NSW Centurion is not a stranger to the jersey, having played there on a number of occasions across his decade-plus career.
Australian Vice-Captain, Rob Horne will run out for his 100th Super Rugby match for the NSW Waratahs this week after reaching the milestone for his home state in the team’s last Super Rugby match against the Chiefs last month.
The Waratahs will be looking to continue their momentum following the impressive 45 to 25 victory over the New Zealand conference leaders in round 14 ahead of the June Test break.
1. Paddy Ryan , 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 3. Tom Robertson , 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Will Skelton , 6. Jack Dempsey, 7. Michael Hooper (C), 8. Dave Dennis (VC), 9. Matt Lucas , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro , 12. Rob Horne, 13. Israel Folau , 14. Reece Robinson, 15. Andrew Kellaway.
Replacements : 16. Hugh Roach , 17. Jeremy Tilse , 18. Angus Ta’avao , 19. Sam Lousi, 20. Wycliff Palu , 21. Ned Hanigan , 22. Nick Phipps , 23. David Horwitz , 24. Tolu Latu , 25. Matt Carraro
* two to be ommitted