Super Rugby
Will Skelton left on Waratahs bench
ESPN Staff
June 25, 2014
Will Skelton made his Test debut just last week, in the Wallabies' run-on side © Getty Images
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Michael Cheika has left Will Skelton on the New South Wales Waratahs bench for the crunch match against the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

The teams, fierce rivals, will do battle for top spot in the Australian Super Rugby conference hence Cheika preferred to go with the more abrasive Jacques Potgieter alongside Kane Douglas in the second-row, leaving Skelton to make an impact from the bench one week after his impressive Test debut for Australia against France.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has credited Cheika for much of Skelton's meteoric rise, saying the Waratahs coach's persistence with the New Zealand-born lock at Super Rugby level was a key to the player's development.

"He didn't look out of place up there and the more experience he gets the better he's going to be," Cheika said of Skelton, noting the showdown with the Brumbies would be a big test for the Test rookie.

"He's going to come up against a lot more challenges, starting on Saturday night," Cheika said.

"Guys now know who he is and they're going to try to get at him. So he's going to have to learn how to deal with that extra attention and I'm sure he'll manage it because he's got the temperament for it."

Cheika, meanwhile, made just one change to the starting side that defeated defending champions the Chiefs in their latest outing, in round 16, with Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu starting at tight-head in place of Paddy Ryan.

Benn Robinson will make history on the other side of the scrum, running out to win his 130th Waratahs cap to join fellow prop Al Baxter as the team's second most-capped player of all time, behind Phil Waugh.

Waugh won 136 caps for the Waratahs.

Cheika has named an extended bench that features newcomer Taqele Naiyaravoro as well as fit-again Tolu Latu.

Waratahs: Israel Folau; Alofa Alofa Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne; Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis; Kane Douglas, Jacques Potgieter; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. (Sydney University). Replacements (one to be omitted): Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Will Skelton, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance,.Taqele Naiyaravoro, Cam Crawford.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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