Timani returns to Waratahs starting side
Sitaleki Timani of the Waratahs scored the winning try against the Brumbies in the corresponding match in 2011. Photo: Getty Images
Game-breaking lock Sitaleki Timani has won a promotion to the NSW starting side for the Waratahs' must-win Super Rugby showdown with the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night.
Timani's last-minute try secured the Australian derby for the Waratahs last year against his former Brumbies outfit and now coach Michael Foley has rewarded the 125kg powerhouse with a run-on spot after a series of strong performances off the bench.
His inclusion is the only change to the Waratahs' starting XV that lost 37-33 to the Crusaders on Sunday, with blindside flanker Dave Dennis retaining the No.6 jumper from Rocky Elsom.
Having spent a year in Canberra in 2010 with little game time, Timani admits he's excited at the prospect of facing his old teammates from the get-go.
"It's always a big challenge to go back and try to get the win," said Timani, who will start ahead of Dean Mumm.
Timani's try, with just nine seconds left on the clock, snatched a 29-22 victory for the Waratahs in Canberra last year after the Brumbies looked to have the game sewn up.
"Coming off last year and because I didn't play any games when I was over there (with the Brumbies), it gives me more motivation to try to prove something," the Tongan-born Wallaby said.
"I still have that motivation now. I try to prove myself against every team.
"With Jake White coming in, it will be a big challenge for us to beat them over there but I am confident we can come away with the win if we do our jobs."
Elsom, in his third match back from a long-term hamstring injury, also knows there is plenty on the line this weekend as the top two teams in the Australian conference battle it out.
"We don't need any more motivation than the four (competition) points," Elsom said.
"We need a win and they do too. They are a side we've got to treat with a fair bit of respect. That's not because we know them but because they are playing well.
"Both teams need to win. There's no doubt about that."
Waratahs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Atieli Pakalani, Tom Kingston, Tom Carter, Peter Betham, Berrick Barnes, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Jono Jenkins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson (capt). Reserves: John Ulugia, Jeremy Tilse, Dean Mumm, Lopeti Timani, Rocky Elsom, Sarel Pretorius, Daniel Halangahu.