Wallabies make five big changes for second England Test
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies wing Andrew Kellaway was ruled out for the rest of the England series on Thursday as coach Dave Rennie made five changes to his starting line-up for the second Test in Brisbane.
Injuries and suspensions forced Rennie’s hand for the clash on Saturday after their brutal 30-28 victory at Perth last weekend, which snapped an eight-match losing streak against Eddie Jones’s men.
Usual fullback Tom Banks broke his arm during the opening match of the three-Test series with right wing Kellaway expected to replace him. But the Melbourne Rebels player was also ruled out after injuring a hamstring in training this week.
That opened the door for Jordan Petaia, usually a wing, to start in the No.15 jersey for the first time at international level, with Tom Wright taking Kellaway’s place.
“We don’t think Kells will be back for the series. We will reassess whether we can get him back in time for Argentina [in August],” said Rennie.
“But exciting for Jordy. He’s talked about wanting to play his footy at 15, he has played really well there for the [Queensland] Reds. He was excellent off the bench last week, his work rate has really improved and he is going to have to boss the game from back there.”
The Wallabies also made changes to their tight five, with powerhouse prop Taniela Tupou back from injury to replace Allan Alaalatoa, who suffered a concussion in Perth but should be fit for the final Test in Sydney.
With lock Darcy Swain serving a two-match ban after being sent off for headbutting Jonny Hill in the first Test, Matt Philip returns to the starting side as the chief line-out caller.
Veteran lock Cadeyrn Neville and hooker David Porecki, who made their debuts in Perth, both retain their places with Nick Frost a potential debutant off the bench.
The other change sees hard-charging Hunter Paisami at outside centre in place of Len Ikitau, who has calf soreness but should be fit for the final Test.
Rennie insisted the injury toll and Swain’s suspension hadn’t been too disruptive.
“I wouldn’t say it has been massively disruptive … we have talked about the fact that we have a lot more depth than a couple of years ago and this is an opportunity to highlight that,” he said.
Playmaker Noah Lolesio kept his spot at flyhalf following an impressive performance in Perth when he was elevated to the starting side just minutes before kick-off after Quade Cooper picked up a calf injury.
Cooper is not in the matchday 23 for Brisbane with James O’Connor on the bench as cover.
Australia: 15 Jordan Petaia, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 James Slipper, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Izaia Perese.
Date: Saturday, July 9
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.55 (10.55 UK & Ireland time; 09.55 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand); Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)