Super Rugby preview: Waratahs take on the Lions at Allianz Stadium
Last Updated: 16/05/14 11:28am
Waratahs will aim to keep their perfect home record intact and force their way into play-off contention when they welcome the Lions to the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Michael Cheika's side have won just once on the road this term but have claimed victory in all five of their matches in Sydney to climb up to eighth in the Super Rugby standings.
A sporting spectacular awaits later this month - from 22nd to 25th May Sky Sports will show live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, the UEFA Champions League Final, the Heineken Cup Final, the Championship Play-Off Final, England v Sri Lanka ODI cricket and much more. Don't miss the ultimate weekend live only on Sky Sports, your home of live sport. Upgrade in minutes or buy a NOW TV Sky Sports Day Pass.
Victory could see the Waratahs elevated as high as third in the table, although the South African franchise will be desperate to arrest the slide which has seen them lose their previous five fixtures.
A sixth successful day in front of their supporters will go a long way in ensuring they build some momentum ahead of two tough away fixtures.
Next week the Waratahs take on the Rebels, who have also taken great pride in their performances at home, before travelling to the Chiefs for a showdown with the reigning champions ahead of the June Tests.
Chieka made just one change to the starting line-up that beat the Hurricanes in their previous match with lock Will Skelton taking over from Jacques Potgieter who was dropped to the bench as he is struggling with a leg injury.
"The Lions have been excellent in the scrum," Cheika said on his team's website.
"They've pretty much dominated nearly every opposition that they've come up against, or they've had a really good contest with them, and it's going to be a big battle for our forwards out there."
The Lions head into this contest having fallen inches short of what would have been a one of the best come-from-behind victories of the season.
They bounced back from a 23-0 half-time deficit in their match against the Highlanders and would eventually go down 22-23 in the most controversial of circumstances.
Having had more time to adapt to their new surroundings, Lions coach Johan Ackermann had only to make a few tweaks to his side and on that front he has implemented measures to counter act the threat Folau is likely to pose.
Ackermann opted to move Cortnall Skosan from wing to full-back as the experienced Deon van Rensburg makes his return to the squad while fellow winger JW Jonker was rewarded with a start for his solid second half performance the previous week.
Waratahs: 15 Folau, 14 Carraro, 13 Ashley-Cooper, 12 Beale, 11 Horne, 10 Foley, 9 Phipps, 1 Robinson, 2 Polota-Nau, 3 Ryan, 4 Skelton, 5 Douglas, 6 Dennis, 7 Hooper, 8 Palu.
Replacements: 16 Roach, 17 Tilse, 18 Kepu, 19 Potgieter, 20 Hoiles, 21 McKibbin, 22 Alofa, 23 Naiyaravoro.
Lions: 15 Skosan, 14 Van Rensburg, 13 Mapoe, 12 Watermeyer, 11 Jonker, 10 Boshoff, 9 De Klerk, 1 S van der Merwe, 2 Coetzee, 3 Redelinghuys, 4 Lusaseni, 5 Muller, 6 Kriel, 7 Minnie, 8 Whiteley (capt).
Replacements: 16 A van der Merwe, 17 Fourie, 18 Dreyer, 19 Mathee, 20 Tecklenburg, 21 Cronje, 22 Jantjies, 23 Botha.
You can see Waratahs v Lions live on Sky Sports 2HD from 7:00am on Sunday.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 14
Reds captain James Horwill has been fined $2,500 and ordered to apologise after criticising match officials.
The Cheetahs sprung a 27-21 upset over the Brumbies in Bloemfontein thanks to 22 points from fly-half Johan Goosen.
Stormers moved off the foot of the Super Rugby table with a shock 24-8 victory over play-off contenders Western Force.