The NSW Waratahs have opted to keep Ben Donaldson at fly-half ahead of their opening round clash with the Hurricanes at the SCG.
The decision comes as Will Harrison returns from a hamstring injury via the bench, which he suffered during their narrow loss to the Brumbies in Round Eight.
“I think Donno has played well in the past two games he’s started there, so he deserves to stay there,” said coach Chris Whitaker.
“It’s great to have Will back, he’s obviously coming back from injury, but he’s done a full week of training so we’re going to bring him back off the bench. We have confidence in both those players and expect them to get plenty of game time.”
Charlie Gamble will make his NSW Waratahs starting debut at openside flanker, with Whittaker opting to move Carlo Tizzano to the bench as they look for greater impact at the end of games.
“I think the times Charlie’s come off the bench for us, he’s performed really well and deserves his chance to start in a game,” Whitaker added.
“We’re looking for Carlo to lift the intensity at the back end of the game, Charlie has been doing it really well and we expect Carlo will do the same this week."
Along with this, Mark Nawaqanitawase starts on the wing in place of James Ramm, who dislocated his shoulder in the last round of Super Rugby AU.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have confirmed that centre Ngani Laumape will not play this weekend, replaced by Peter Umaga-Jensen.
Laumape announced on Tuesday that he will leave for French club Stade Francais on July 1.
"That's been part of our plan since the back end of the earlier comp, we were looking forward to the Trans-Tasman thinking if we're going to win it, we're not going to be able to go through that with the same 23 every week," Hurricanes coach Jason Holland said.
Alex Fidow comes into the front row, joined by Isaia Walker-Leawere in the tight five.
Lock Liam Mitchell has been recalled to the bench alongside halfback Jonathan Taumateine and utility back Orbyn Leger.
WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, David Porecki, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair, Max Douglas, Lachie Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Will Harris, Jake Gordon (c), Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks
Reserves: Joe Cotton, Tetera Faulkner, Darcy Breen, Jeremy Williams, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, Tepai Moeroa
INs: Tepai Moeroa, Will Harrison, Jeremy Williams
OUTs: James Ramm, Tane Edmed, Sam Caird
HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Dane Coles (c), Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Reed Prinsep, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Luke Campbell, Ruben Love, Salesi Rayasi, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Tevita Mafileo, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Mitchell, Brayden Iose, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Pepesana Patafilo
INs: Liam Mitchell, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Tevita Mafileo
OUTs: Scott Scrafton, Fraser Armstrong, Ngani Laumape, Fraser Armstrong
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