VIDEO: Waratahs bring in extra power for Lions
Tom Staniforth returns to the starting side for the first time since round four against the Jaguares, joining Rob Simmons in the second row.
Ned Hanigan will slot back into blindside flank, while Will Miller will make his impact off the bench that has taken a 6/2 formation.
The coach has opted to include an extra forward is to combat the physicality and the firepower the 2017 Super Rugby finalists will bring with their set piece.
"In the forward pack, we brought Tom Staniforth in and moved Will Miller to the bench.
"The reasons for that is we see this game being extremely physical and we wanted to have some bigger bodies in our forward pack to cater for the big South African forward pack that will be presented on Friday night," Gibson said.
Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (Captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Will Miller, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Lalakai Foketi
Date; Friday, April 20
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 SA Time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia