Four debutants for Waratahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Four players will make their Waratahs Super Rugby debuts against the Stormers in Sydney on Saturday.
Former NSW and Australia Schoolboys midfielder Lalakai Foketi, former Australian Under-20 captain and lock Tom Staniforth, his second-row partner and Wallaby Rob Simmons and 2017 Wallaby Curtis Rona are the new faces in the starting XV.
Openside flanker Michael Hooper will lead the Waratahs in his 81st Super Rugby game for the franchise on Saturday.
Waratahs Coach Daryl Gibson said the team is ready to play.
"The game against the Stormers will be a physical contest and it's a chance for our guys to show what they have, and what we have been focusing on delivering," Gibson said.
"The kind of start we had against the Rebels last week was too slow for my liking, and we cannot afford to do that against the Stormers. We will need to up the tempo."
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.
Date: Saturday, February 24
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 (08.45 GMT; 10.45 SA Time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), William Houston (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)