Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale will captain the New South Wales side for the first time in his career as a raft of injuries has forced head coach Rob Penney to overhaul his side which picked up its first win of the year against the Lions last week.

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Despite having played 134 times for the Waratahs, Beale has never skippered the Sydney franchise, but will do so in Wollongong on Friday when his side takes on the Chiefs at WIN Stadium.

Beale’s rise to captaincy comes on the back of a multitude of injuries which has ruled regular skipper Rob Simmons out of this weekend’s contest with an ankle concern.

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The 100-test Wallabies second rower is joined by international teammate Jake Gordon in the injury ward, as the 26-year-old halfback deals with a knee injury.

Simmons and Gordon aren’t the only casualties Penney has had to accomodate for, as 24-test Wallabies prop Tom Robertson and exciting teenage wing Mark Nawaqanitawase have also been omitted from the side due to back problems.

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As a result, lock Ryan McCauley, halfback Mitch Short and wing James Ramm are the new additions to the starting side from the team that dispatched the Lions 29-17 at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney last Friday.

Robertson’s absence has been filled by Rory O’Connor, who joins three potential debutants on the bench in the form of 20-year-old flanker Pat Tafa, Irish-born halfback Michael McDonald and former Japan sevens representative Siosifa Lisala.

After suffering their worst-ever start to a Super Rugby campaign in history with three season-opening defeats, the Waratahs will be hoping to build on their victory over the Lions against the high-flying Chiefs, who have established themselves as early title contenders under new coach Warren Gatland.

The Hamilton franchise currently sit five places ahead of the Waratahs in seventh spot on the overall standings with three wins from four outings.

Waratahs side to face the Chiefs

1 – Angus Bell
2 – Robbie Abel
3 – Harry Johnson-Holmes
4 – Ryan McCauley
5 – Tom Staniforth
6 – Lachlan Swinton
7 – Michael Hooper
8 – Jack Dempsey (vc)
9 – Mitch Short
10 – Will Harrison
11 – Jack Maddocks
12 – Karmichael Hunt
13 – Alex Newsome
14 – James Ramm
15 – Kurtley Beale

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Reserves

16 – Damien Fitzpatrick
17 – Rory O’Connor
18 – Tetera Faulkner
19 – Pat Tafa
20 – Jed Holloway
21 – Michael McDonald
22 – Lalakai Foketi
23 – Siosifa Lisala

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