Thu 5 Aug 2021 | 09:05

Shock Cooper omission as Wallabies opt for youth

Shock Cooper omission as Wallabies opt for youth
Thu 5 Aug 2021 | 09:05
Shock Cooper omission as Wallabies opt for youth

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named an all-new back three for Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks at Eden Park,


Veteran Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper has missed out on a spot in the match-day squad, while scrumhalf Nic White will be given another week to recover from a knee injury.

Renie has selected Jordan Petaia on the wing for the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Saturday, with the entire backline featuring a combined experience of just 45 Tests.

Petaia’s first appearance in the gold jersey in 2021 is one of two changes to an all-new back three, with Andrew Kellaway earning his first International start on the wing, with Tom Banks named at fullback.

The rest of the backline remains unchanged from the one that started in the deciding French Series Test win in Brisbane.

Queensland number nine Tate McDermott earns his second start at Test level, continuing the partnership with Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio in the halves.

Hunter Paisami has been selected at inside centre for his 10th consecutive Test, partnering Len Ikitau in the midfield who earns another opportunity at outside centre after a strong showing in Brisbane.


The run-on front row remains settled with James Slipper in line to play his 104th Test at loosehead prop, joined by Brandon Paenga-Amosa at hooker and club teammate Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead.

After an impressive French Series, youngster Darcy Swain will play in his first Bledisloe Cup Test, combining with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second row.

Rob Valetini and Harry Wilson return to the starting side at blindside flanker and no. 8 respectively. Skipper Michael Hooper rounds out the backrow in his 56th Test as captain, just three behind most decorated Wallabies captain, George Gregan.

Melbourne hooker Jordan Uelese retains his spot in the matchday 23, with the youngest member of the squad, Angus Bell, and damaging prop Taniela Tupou as the replacements.


Matt Philip has been selected as the second row cover with Reds flanker Fraser McReight named to make his first appearance in Wallaby gold this season.

Jake Gordon is the finishing scrumhalf with the experienced duo of Matt To’omua and Reece Hodge to cover the remaining backs.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “As a group we couldn’t be more excited about the challenge of taking on New Zealand at Eden Park, a place they’re expected to win whenever they play there.”

“We’ve had a strong week on the training field and the team is in good shape heading to Auckland.

“We have a great opportunity to show how tight we are as a group on Saturday night and create our own history in the Wallabies jersey.”

Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Andrew Kellaway, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Ala’alatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Reece Hodge.

Date: Saturday, August 7
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 AEST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill and Mike Fraser

PV: 28