Latu starts for Waratahs in Ellis Park semi-final
Cape Town - The selection of hooker Tolu Latu is the only change to the Waratahs' starting line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Kick-off is at 15:05.
Latu will make his first start of the season, replacing Damien Fitzpatrick, who will be on the bench.
Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said the inclusion of Latu was a reflection of the type of game the Lions were likely to play.
“This match will be a very physical encounter, particularly with the breakdown and scrum being key battlegrounds. These are areas where Tolu excels. We are expecting a real set piece battle so we need to be good in this area to compete with the Lions’ scrum and lineout,” Gibson said.
Gibson said he did not envisage the Lions changing their game plan.
“I can’t see the Lions changing what has worked for them all season. We learnt a great deal from the last time we played them when they won easily, and when their strengths led them to victory. We have again focused on our defence this week as we see that as key to victory.”
The Waratahs advanced to the final four after turning a 17-point deficit at half-time into a seven-point victory against the Highlanders.
“You cannot look past the support of our loyal members and fans who got the 'NSW' chant going and helped our team win that match last week," he said.
"And add to that the fighting traits of our team, the way we managed the yellow card period and the excellent tries we scored. We are going into Saturday’s match with the message of not having any regrets."
Meanwhile, wing Taqele Naiyaravoro is set to play his 50th Super Rugby match this weekend.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Cam Clark