The Waratahs are mustering their big guns to break a four-year drought in Canberra on Friday night.
Shanghai night field

Damaging forwards Wycliff Palu and Jacques Potgieter will reunite in the NSW back row for the first time since round nine as the defending champions prepare to take on Australian conference leaders the Brumbies.

Palu played off the bench against the Rebels last week and Potgieter did the same against the Hurricanes the week prior, leaving them fresh for a pivotal match in the Waratahs’ campaign to make the finals.

They are the only two changes to the NSW starting line up, with coach Michael Cheika leaving the front row and back line unchanged from last week’s nail biter against Melbourne.

The Brumbies, meanwhile, have welcomed back Wallabies Ben Alexander and Sam Carter to the pack.

The Canberra side are still without Test halves Nic White and Matt Toomua, with Michael Dowsett and Christian Lealiifano reprising the combination for a second week.

Australian conference bragging rights are up for grabs in the clash, with seven rounds left in the regular season. The Brumbies are automatic qualifiers as the log stands now, while the Waratahs sit in seventh place, just outside the crucial top six. Crucially, they have a game in hand, while the Brumbies have a second bye in round 15.

Waratahs: Israel Folau, Peter Betham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgieter, Dave Dennis (c), Will Skelton, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitch Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Matt Carraro (one to be omitted).

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Robbie Coleman, Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano, Michael Dowsett, Ita Vaea, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Jordan Smiler, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore (c), JP Smith. Res: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Jarrad Butler, Joe Powell, James Dargaville, Nigel Ah Wong. 

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