Super Rugby preview: Rebels host Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday
The Waratahs have made two changes to their starting line-up for Friday's Weary Dunlop Shield clash against the Rebels.
Last Updated: 23/05/14 1:55pm
Coach Michael Cheika has named crowd favourite Jacques Potgieter to start at lock, forcing 22-year-old Will Skelton to the bench, after an outstanding display off the bench last week.
Alofa Alofa starts on the wing after returning to full fitness following a knee injury, with Matt Carraro dropping to the bench.
Loosehead prop Benn Robinson will become NSW's equal most-capped Super Rugby player (121) alongside Al Baxter when he runs out against the Rebels.
Hooker Tatafu Polota Nau will also go down in the history books on Friday, when he becomes NSW's fifth most capped player of all time (surpassing Matt Burke on 115).
Despite stringing together back-to-back victories in the last two rounds, getting a win in Melbourne won't be easy, says Waratahs defensive coach Nathan Grey, who spent three years on the Rebels' coaching staff before joining NSW this year.
"They are always tough to beat at home and they'll have a lot of confidence highlighted by their first away win over the Reds," said Grey.
"Plus in their last home game against the competition-leading Sharks, they put themselves in a position to win. They've got good support and they'll have the crowd screaming for them."
Rebels: 15 Woodward, 14 Kingston, 13 Ellison, 12 Inman, 11 English, 10 Hegarty, 9 Meehan; 1 Smith, 2 Leafa, 3 Alo-Emile, 4 Neville, 5 JOnes, 6 Fainga'a, 7 Fuglistaller, 8 Higginbotham (capt)
Replacements: 16 Fualau, 17 Ah-Nau, 18 Lahiff, 19 Pyle, 20 McMahon, 21 Holmes, 22 Debreczeni, 23 Veainu
Waratahs: 15 Folau, 14 Alofa, 13 Ashley-Cooper, 12 Beale, 11 Horne, 10 Foley, 9 Phipps; 8 Palu. 7 Hooper, 6 Dennis, 5 Douglas, 4 Potgieter, 3 Ryan, 2 Polota-Nau, 1 Robinson
Replacements (two to be omitted): 16 Roach, 17 Tilse, 18 Kepu, 19 Skelton, 20 Hoiles, 21 McKibbin, 22 Lance, 23 Carraro, 24 McCutcheon, 25 Naiyaravoro.