NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson will throw all his major scrummaging artillery at a Western Force side he expects will test his team in that area.
Gibson opted for an all-Wallabies starting front row of props Sekope Kepu and Tom Robertson and hooker Tolu Latu for Saturday's Super Rugby opening round clash at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.
He had spoken during the pre-season about the fierce tussle for the starting hookers spot between Latu, Hugh Roach and Damien Fitzpatrick.
However, with former Waratahs rake Tatafu Polota-Nau set to pack down against his side, Gibson opted for Latu, who made his first four Test appearances on the Wallabies' 2016 spring tour.
"We fully expect a really tough scrum battle against the Force," Gibson said.
"With Tatafu in their front row, he makes a real difference to to their scrumming strength.
"I've picked what I consider the best scrumming front row we've got because I really want to combat that area and make sure we're as strong."
Gibson was able to pick six Test players in his run-on pack despite losing four Wallabies from last year's team in Polota-Nau, Dave Dennis, Wycliff Palu and Benn Robinson.
Another area of concern for the Tahs is how they defend kicks after the Highlanders scored a couple of tries off kicks against NSW in their final trial last week.
Gibson felt new Force coach David Wessels might try and employ a similar tactic this week.
"I believe the Force would have seen a lot of that and will probably come at us in that sort of area as well," Gibson said.
He described the perennially battling WA-based franchise's recruiting for this year as clever.
"I think they've got an excellent spine of genuine experience and have managed to pick up some good players around them," he said.
'I'm expecting the Force to be very competitive this year.
"They've had a change of coach, probably a new direction in terms of the style of game they want to play."