Wallabies star Nick Phipps has regained the NSW Waratahs' No.9 jumper for Saturday's Super Rugby showdown with the table-topping Crusaders in Christchurch.
Phipps replaces Jake Gordon for what will be the halfback's first start in a tumultuous season dogged by injury and controversy.
Coach Daryl Gibson said he always planned on rotating his halfbacks during NSW's torrid four-game stretch of matches against New Zealand heavyweights.
He's eager to give both Phipps and Gordon the chance to press for Wallabies selection before the June Test series against Ireland, but also believes Phipps' up-tempo game will be needed against the defending champion Crusaders.
"Nick's such a competitor. The chances he's been given when he comes on, you can see the speed with which he wants to play the game," Gibson said on Thursday.
"Then also I'm looking at those fixtures and trying to match both their skill sets to those games.
"Nick and Jake have got lovely contrasting styles and I think Nick's strengths in this game are really important.
"The way he does speed the game up with his fitness and that strength will be an important factor."
In other changes, Curtis Rona has replaced Lalakai Foketi at outside centre, with young prop Shambeckler Vui earning a spot on the bench at the expense of veteran Paddy Ryan.
The Waratahs have lost their past two games and a third straight defeat would open the door for the Rebels to regain the Australian conference lead with victory over the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night.
Gibson acknowledged nothing but a supreme 80-minute showing from his side will suffice at AAMI Park, where the Waratahs' only victory in 13 encounters came in 2004.
"We're going to have to be at our best to break that cycle. We've talked about that and we know what we're in for," he said.
"They're playing some really solid football, both in attack and defence, and we know we're going to have to do our best to compete because they contest everything and they compete hard.
"For us, it's that challenge, the biggest challenge of the season.
"We've talked more around the opportunity that presents us there. If we can be at our best, I believe we can win."
WARATAHS: Israel Folau, Cam Clark, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Will Miller, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Hugh Roach, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Shambeckler Vui, Tom Staniforth, Jed Holloway, Jake Gordon, Lalakai Foketi, Bryce Hegarty.