Dave Dennis returns from a lengthy injury lay-off to lead the Waratahs in their opening match against the Force on Sunday.
The lock suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in their 39-8 win over the Brumbies in June last year and hasn't played since. He now not only returns to the starting XV, but coach Michael Chieka has also entrusted him to skipper the champions, ahead of flank Michael Hooper.
Among the backs, rookie wing Taqele Naiyaravoro will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut, while Israel Folau's much talked about switch from fullback to centre has been delayed.
Apart from Naiyaravoro, second rower Sam Lousi is the only new recruit included in the match-day squad.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dave Dennis (c), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephan Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images