Australia gamble on four rookies for All Blacks clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie gambled with four rookies in his squad for their must-win clash against the All Blacks in Sydney this weekend.
New Zealand are seeking an unassailable 2-0 Bledisloe Cup series lead on Saturday in Sydney after winning the second Test in Auckland and drawing the opening clash in Wellington.
Rennie dumped fullback Tom Banks in favour of veteran Dane Haylett-Petty, who is returning from injury and is renowned one of Australia’s best players under the high ball.
His also named debutants Noah Lolesio at flyhalf and Irae Simone at inside centre, with the experienced Matt Toomua and James O’Connor both out injured.
“It’s really exciting to be able to name four more debutants in the squad this week,” said Rennie, who also included uncapped forward Fraser McReight and scrumhalf Tate McDermott on the bench.
“Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we have no doubt they’re ready to take the step up to Test rugby.”
The explosive Jordan Petaia will play his first Test in Australia after being preferred to Hunter Paisami at outside centre, while Allan Alaalatoa got the nod ahead of Taniela Tupou at tighthead prop.
“We know New Zealand will pose another tough challenge but we’ve prepared well and will be ready to go on Saturday night,” added Rennie.
Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Hunter Paisami.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 AEDT (21.45 NZ time; 08.45 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Nic Berry
TMO: Angus Gardner