Waratahs dump Wallabies prop Benn Robinson
NSW coach Michael Cheika has reshuffled his pack for the Waratahs' Super Rugby conference derby with the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.
Cheika has relegated Benn Robinson to the bench in the wake of NSW's loss to the Brumbies last Saturday night, giving fellow Test prop Sekope Kepu the nod at loosehead.
"Keps has played well. He was probably a little bit unlucky at the start of the season to miss out," Cheika said on Tuesday,
"He had to wear that and he's been doing exactly what he needs to do to force his way back into the team.
"It's his opportunity."
Cheika will also start Wycliff Palu from the bench, but said the move was more about managing the destructive No.8's workload after several seasons disrupted by injury.
"We've got to make sure that Cliff is used correctly," the coach said.
"We're getting good value out of him at the moment."
Skipper Dave Dennis has been shifted to No.8, with South African Jacques Potgieter moving from lock to blindside flanker and big Will Skelton promoted to partner Kane Douglas in the second row.
"We have the ability to keep the same intensity on the ball by changing the shape of the team a little bit and letting (Palu) come off the bench and finish the game.
"He'll definitely contribute a fair bit. I'm not looking to rest him or anything. I just wanted to change the shape a little bit, start using a few other guys."
The Waratahs backline remains unchanged, with former Rebel Nick Phipps' all-Test halfback battle with ex-Waratah Luke Burgess sure to be a highlight at Allianz Stadium.
NSW WARATAHS: Israel Folau, Alofa Alofa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Dave Dennis (capt), Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgieter, Kane Douglas, Will Skelton, Paddy Ryan, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu. Reserves: Tola Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Benn Robinson, Wycliff Palu, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Rob Horne, Matt Carraro, Pat McCutcheon, Jonno Lance