Coach Rob Penney clearly wasn’t happy with what he saw and wants to go in a different direction by blooding Harris, another member of last year’s successful Junior Wallabies side, alongside veteran Michael Hooper at No.7 and Lachlan Swinton at No.6.
It is also a show of faith in Walton, who will be thrown straight in the deep end in place of Karmichael Hunt when the Waratahs aim to get their campaign off to a favourable start at Suncorp Stadium.
Mitch Short will start at halfback due to an injury to Jake Gordon, while Mark Nawaqanitawase and James Ramm are the side’s wingers, with Jack Maddocks at fullback.
In the absence of Kurtley Beale, Newsome, the side’s outside-centre, has been named as new vice-captain under skipper Rob Simmons.
Ned Hanigan joins Simmons in the second row in what will be his first appearance this year due to concussion symptoms.
NSW have opted for a 5-3 bench, with hooker Tom Horton (Sydney University), playmaker Ben Donaldson (Randwick) and tight-head prop Tiaan Tauakipulu all in line to make their NSW debuts.
The Waratahs have won their last 11 Super Rugby games against Queensland but fell short against the Reds earlier this year in a trial match in Dalby.
However, their away record of late has been poor. NSW have lost their last four Super Rugby matched on the road by an average margin of 26 points.
The Reds will also announce their team on Thursday.
Waratahs (1-15): Angus Bell, Robbie Abel, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Will Harris, Mitch Short, Will Harrison, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Joey Walton, Alex Newsome, James Ramm, Jack Maddocks.
Bench: Tom Horton, Tetera Faulkner, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Tom Staniforth, Jack Dempsey, Michael McDonald, Ben Donaldson, Tepai Moeroa.
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald
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