Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps has been ruled out of this Saturday's clash with the Chiefs, failing to overcome an ankle injury.
Phipps was cleared of long-term damage earlier this week but failed to prove his fitness for round 15, instead being sent back to Sydney for precautionary scans on Thursday.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson expects the scrumhalf to be fit for the Wallabies first Test on June 10 against Fiji, despite the injury.
"It’s more a 10-day injury and he just ran out of time. I don’t think there’s anything more in it but we’ll get those scans to rule that out and go from there," he said.
Jake Gordon, who scored two tries off the bench against the Highlanders last weekend, will start in Phipps' place, while Matt Lucas has been called over as an injury replacement.
Gordon has started a handful of times this season and Gibson said there would be little disruption with the reshuffle.
Jack Dempsey will play his first game since round four, on the comeback from a foot injury, after featuring for Gordon in the Shute Shield last weekend.
Dempsey lines up on a 6-2 bench for the Waratahs, with Gibson anticipating an intense clash in Hamilton.
"I've really stacked the bench with forwards, so I’m expecting it to be a physical encounter," he said.
"For Jack, obviously it's only his second game back, played against Randwick a week earlier and it’s really a case of him finding his match fitness again, and this is part of that.
"You do that by playing - I expect him to get 20-25 minutes off the bench. He’s had a good week of training, which is important as he integrates himself back in from injury."
NSW is looking to be the first Australian team to beat a New Zealand team in 2017, with Aussies on the wrong end of a 0-20 ledger this season.
The Waratahs have had little trouble scoring tries in recent weeks, with 17 from their past three matches against the Blues, Rebels and Highlanders, but Gibson said their next step was coupling that with a strong performance up front.
Gibson said the next challenge was making sure they match the Chiefs up front, to help give some rewards to their backs.
“We’re very happy with our attack, we seem to be scoring tries against New Zealand teams so we don’t see that as an issue,” he said.
“We do know the Chiefs are a very good defensive side, they’ve got an excellent record, very hard to break down and we know they’re very physical.
“We know what we’re in for and for us, a lot of our focus has been on playing for that full 80 minutes.”
The Waratahs take on the Chiefs on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
IN: Matt Lucas, Jack Dempsey
OUT: Nick Phipps, Irae Simone
1. Tom Robertson
2. Tolu Latu
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Dean Mumm
5. Will Skelton
6. Ned Hanigan
7. Michael Hooper ©
8. Michael Wells
9. Jake Gordon
10. Bernard Foley
11. Cam Clark
12. David Horwitz
13. Rob Horne
14. Taqele Naiyaravoro
16. Damien Fitzpatrick
17. Paddy Ryan
18. Angus Taavao
19. David McDuling
21. Jack Dempsey
22. Matt Lucas
23. Bryce Hegarty