The Waratahs have made seven changes to their side to face the Bulls in Sydney on Friday.
Elsom returns to the starting line-up after injury and bench roles and captains the side. Dave Dennis loses out to Elsom, while Chad Alcock starts at openside flank.
In another notable change Adam Ashley-Cooper plays at inside centre in place of Tom Carter, who drops to the bench. He partners Rob Horne, who returns from a two-game suspension.
Elsewhere in the back division, Daniel Halangahu will play fullback and Tom Kingston returns to the wing. There is also a start for former Cheetahs halfback Sarel Pretorius.
Dean Mumm comes back into the second row after being rested last week. John Ulugia takes Tatafu Polota-Nau’s place at hooker after the latter failed to shake off concussion concerns.
Waratahs - 15 Daniel Halangahu, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 11 Atieli Pakalani, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 John Mann-Rea, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Tom Carter.