Waratahs Super rugby head coach Daryl Gibson has named his team to play the Bulls in Pretoria and included Michael Hooper as captain.
Hooper will win his 57th Super rugby cap as Waratahs captain making him the most capped Waratahs captain.
Gibson has made seven changes to the side for this week and possibly the most striking is that of Ned Hanigan starting the match in the No.8 jersey
Hanigan began his Super Rugby career at lock but has never started a NSW game at no.8,
With Michael Wells and Jack Dempsey injured, and Jed Holloway suspended, Gibson has given hard-edged youngster Lachie Swinton a start at no.6 and Hanigan a game at no.8.
Tom Staniforth will start in the second row.
In an otherwise unchanged backline, Nick Phipps comes in to replace Jake Gordon to bring a “high tempo start” for the Waratahs, who will clearly look to replicate their out-of-the-blocks points frenzy from last year’s semi-final against the Lions – but this time hold on.
The Waratahs bench sees the return of prop Tom Robertson from a six month ACL injury, and the call-up of Norths and ex-Rebels backrower Hugh Sinclair.
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ned Hanigan, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Hugh Sinclair, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Alex Newsome