The return of halfback Nick Phipps to the starting XV is the only change to the run-on team that will take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday in the penultimate Vodafone Super Rugby match before the June break.

NSW Waratahs Head Coach Daryl Gibson has also named rookie backrower Brad Wilkin on the bench, alongside veteran prop Paddy Ryan.

Gibson said Wilkin’s selection was reward for the 23-year-old’s hard work.

Brad is a guy who consistently contributes at training, working away and it’s a great opportunity for him. We can’t get through this tournament without the whole squad contributing and this is his chance,” Gibson said.

In the Chiefs, the NSW Waratahs face an opponent known for their physicality.

“That’s what we are expecting again this weekend. The way they play the game, they are strong in contact and at the breakdown. They are also good with ball in hand from loose play so we cannot afford to be loose in any way.”

“It is no secret that we like to play positive rugby with the ball in hand, that’s a combination of what we have been doing at training. At the same time, we are really trying to tighten up our turnovers because with adventure comes mistakes.”

Gibson said the challenge for the team this weekend is to continue the momentum from last week’s win against the Highlanders.

“Our performance last week was pleasing, and on par with what we were projecting. This weekend we want an even more improved performance because consistency is important.” 

NSW Waratahs team to face the Chiefs (number denotes number of Super Rugby caps for the NSW Waratahs; * denotes debutant)

1. Tom Robertson (38)
2. Damien Fitzpatrick (42)
3. Sekope Kepu (118)
4. Tom Staniforth (11)
5. Rob Simmons (9)
6. Will Miller (10)
7. Michael Hooper (Captain, 91)
8. Michael Wells (26) 
9. Nick Phipps (67)
10. Bernard Foley (Vice Captain, 98)
11. Taqele Naiyaravoro (43)
12. Kurtley Beale (121)
13. Curtis Rona (11)
14. Cam Clark (17)
15. Israel Folau (83)

16. Tolu Latu (46)
17. Harry Johnson-Holmes (11)
18. Paddy Ryan (100)
19. Jed Holloway (34)
20. Brad Wilkin (*)
21. Jake Gordon (22)
22. Lalakai Foketi (11)
23. Bryce Hegarty (24)