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Aussies face physical tests in round six

Wallabies are benched by Michael Cheika as the Tahs coach seeks a physical edge over the Rebels.

PT3M43S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3559o 620 349

Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Friday 7.40pm (AEDT)

Last meeting: Round 15 2013 - Rebels 24 bt Waratahs 22 at AAMI Park

Head-to-head: Played 6 Waratahs 5 Rebels 1

In Sydney: Played 3 Waratahs 3 Rebels 0

Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)

TV: Live, FoxSports 2

Betfair: Waratahs $1.20, Rebels $5.70

Ladbrokes: Waratahs $1.17, Rebels $5.10

Stephen Samuelson writes: The Rebels have never won at Allianz Stadium but the losing margins are getting progressively smaller. Tahs coach Michael Cheika has called on his pack to do more heavy lifting and has recalled big boppers Will Skelton and Sekope Kepu to kick start proceedings.

AAP writes: Losing for the first time to the Rebels last season, and then again in this year's trials, should have the hosts wary enough of an ambush but any sense of complacency in the Waratahs ranks must surely have been distinguished by a last-up defeat against the Brumbies. Suddenly the Tahs' two bonus-point wins to open 2014 seems a distant memory and they will be desperate to get their campaign back on track before embarking on a tough two-game stint in South Africa. Expect a torrid battle at the breakdown with the Rebels eager to stop ball supply to Waratahs dangermen Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale. It will be a special night for winger Lachlan Mitchell, who will become the first player to make 50 appearances for the Rebels.

WARATAHS: Israel Folau, Alofa Alofa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Dave Dennis (c), Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgieter, Kane Douglas, Will Skelton, Paddy Ryan, Tatafu Polota Nau, Sekope Kepu. Reserves (from): Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Benn Robinson, Wycliff Palu, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Rob Horne, Matt Carraro, Pat McCutcheon, Jonno Lance.

REBELS: Angus Roberts, Lachlan Mitchell, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Tom English, Bryce Hegarty, Luke Burgess, Scott Higginbotham (capt), Scott Fuglistaller, Sean McMahon, Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle, Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Reserves: Shota Horie, Max Lahiff, Cruze Ah-Nau, Cadeyrn Neville, Colby Fainga'a, Ben Meehan, Male Sa'u.