Waratahs' chances of featuring in the play-off in the ongoing Super Rugby season has been dealt a major blow with five of their Wallabies players rested ahead of their must-win clash against Highlanders at Rugby Park.
Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale will all miss the Friday's encounter as they will be rested as a part of Australia's World Cup policy that was agreed with Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika.
Alex Newsome has been shifted to fullback to take the place of Beale with Cameron Clark promoting to the number 14 position. Mack Mason will take the kicking responsibility in the absence of Foley while Nick Phipps will captain the side on his final appearance for Waratahs in the absence of Hooper, whose position is taken by Will Miller.
The other changes see Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ned Hanigan, Tom Staniforth and Hugh Sinclair coming in while Tom Roberston and Michael Wells will have positional change.
Waratahs starting line-up: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Mack Mason, 9 Nick Phipps (c), 8 Hugh Sinclair, 7 Will Miller, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Reserves: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Tautalatasi Tasi