Plus500 Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano will play his first Wallabies international since the June 2016 Test against England, after being selected in the number ten jersey for the clash with Argentina at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane this weekend.
The inclusion of the 31-year old Lealiifano is of five changes Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made to his starting 15, with a further five to his reserves, ahead of Saturday night’s Mitsubishi Estate Rugby Championship clash. Scott Sio is the only change to the forward pack as the 55-Test veteran returns from a hamstring injury that forced him out of last weekend’s Test against South Africa.
Will Genia, Lealiifano, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale will all start in a new-look backline as combinations continue to be tested before the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year. Saturday’s clash will be a memorable occasion for Genia, with the halfback set to play his last-ever game at Suncorp Stadium following his decision to retire from Test Rugby at the end of 2019.
Suncorp Stadium has proved a happy hunting ground for the wily number 9, who currently boasts 10 wins from his 12 games in Wallaby Gold at the venue. Meanwhile it’s a homecoming for utility James O’Connor who is set to play his first Test in almost six years (2142 days) after being named amongst the reserves. O’Connor signed for the Queensland Reds last week but missed selection for the Test against South Africa.
Luke Jones is also in line to cap his Test return with the flanker to wear the Wallabies jersey for just the fourth time in career and for the first time since the 2014 Spring Tour. Squad members Joe Powell, Rob Valetini, Jack Maddocks and Jack Dempsey have all returned to their home states to play Club Rugby this weekend. Australia have lost just one of their last eight games against Argentina, although that defeat came on home soil last year on the Gold Coast.
The Wallabies exacted some revenge in the return fixture after recording the biggest come-from-behind victory in tier-one Test history to secure a 45-34 victory in Salta, Argentina. Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s clash at Suncorp Stadium, viaTicketek.
FOX SPORTS will showcase every game of the Mitsubishi Estate Rugby Championship LIVE with no ad-breaks during play and in HD. All matches in the tournament will also be streamed LIVE on Kayo Sports. All Qantas Wallabies Tests will be screened LIVE and free in HD on TEN and WIN Network and streaming on tenplay.com.au.
All Tests will also be LIVE on RUGBY.com.au Radio and available to stream via the RugbyXplorer App.
Qantas Wallabies team to play Argentina at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday 27 July, 7.45pm AEST1. Scott Sio (55 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (8 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (104 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (18 Tests)
5. Rory Arnold (20 Tests)
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (12 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (92 Tests)
8. Isi Naisarani (1 Test)
9. Will Genia (101 Tests)
10. Christian Lealiifano (19 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (20 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (vc) (26 Tests)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (59 Tests)
14. Reece Hodge (34 Tests)
15. Kurtley Beale (84 Tests)
Reserves16. Tolu Latu (12 Tests)
17. James Slipper (87 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (12 Tests)
19. Rob Simmons (95 Tests)
20. Luke Jones (3 Tests)
21. Nic White (23 Tests)
22. Matt To’omua (43 Tests)
23. James O’Connor (44 Tests)