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Elsom to skipper Tahs

Rocky Elsom will captain the Waratahs for the first time in five years after being named in the starting side for Friday night's crucial Super 15 clash with the Bulls at Allianz Stadium.

Elsom, who has made three appearances this season all off the bench, will make his first start of the year as one of seven changes to the Waratahs side from the one that was beaten by the ACT Brumbies last weekend.

The former Australia skipper has trained strongly this week and is finally ready for a start after playing just 45 minutes over the last three games in his comeback from a hamstring injury.

Dean Mumm is also back in the run-on side, while flanker Chris Alcock and centre Rob Horne also return to the starting XV.

Horne will play in the centres alongside Adam Ashley-Cooper with Daniel Halangahu to slot into the number 15 jersey and Tom Kingston reverting to the wing.

"Clearly it's great to have Rob and Chris back in the team," Waratahs coach Michael Foley said. "Rob and Adam have had lots of experience in both centre positions and, as play evolves, we will need them both to provide Berrick (Barnes) with support as second receivers."

Another change sees Sarel Pretorius named at scrum-half in place of Brendan McKibbin, while John Ulugia will start at hooker at the expense of the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau.

"What is most important to us is to ensure Taf (Polota-Nau) is 100%," Foley said.

"His welfare and value to the squad are critical and, with a borderline decision like this, we've taken the position that the risk is not worth it.

"John showed in his starting game last year against the Force at the SFS what he is capable of."

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