Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has picked four Plus500 Brumbies in his matchday squad for Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup decider with New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland.
Cheika has selected Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio in the front row, with James Slipper and Folau Fainga’a named amongst the replacements, whilst Christian Lealiifano continues at flyhalf as the Wallabies boss makes one change from the team that defeated the All Blacks in Perth.
Adam Coleman comes into the second row for his first Test start of 2019 after a hand injury ruled out towering lock Rory Arnold. Coleman made his return from injury in last week’s clash at Optus Stadium. The second row re-shuffle means Rob Simmons has been named amongst the reserves, alongside potential debutant Liam Wright.
The Queensland Reds backrower enjoyed a breakout year in Vodafone Super Rugby and is now in line to become Wallaby 928, should he take the field on Saturday night. Wright will have plenty of experience alongside him on the bench, especially after the inclusion of utility Adam Ashley-Cooper who has been named for his first Test of the year.
An appearance at Eden Park would be Ashley-Cooper’s 118thTest, making him the 16thmost capped player of all-time alongside New Zealand legend Tony Woodcock and France veteran Fabien Pelous. Ashley-Cooper is amongst 474 caps of Test experience on the bench which almost matches the total caps of the starting 15 combined (531).
Saturday night's bench is the second most-capped reserve list the Wallabies have ever named for a Test match and the first time that Australia have boasted two Test centurions as replacements.
Australia haven’t won at Eden Park since 1986 while New Zealand are on a 42-match unbeaten streak at the venue, dating back to their three-point loss to France in 1994.
The Wallabies have lost their last 22 games across the ditch, with their last victory coming in 2001 in Dunedin. Saturday will again be a double-header with the Buildcorp Wallaroos to square off against the Black Ferns at Eden Park in the second match of a two-Test series.
FOX SPORTS will showcase the Bledisloe Cup decider LIVE with no ad-breaks during play and in HD. The match will also be streamed LIVE on Kayo Sports. All Qantas Wallabies Tests are 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 New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday 17 August, 7.35pm NZT1. Scott Sio (57 Tests)
2. Tolu Latu (14 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (33 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (20 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (32 Tests)
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (14 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (94 Tests)
8. Isi Naisarani (3 Tests)
9. Nic White (25 Tests)
10. Christian Lealiifano (21 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (22 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (vc) (28 Tests)
13. James O’Connor (46 Tests)
14. Reece Hodge (36 Tests)
15. Kurtley Beale (86 Tests)
Reserves16. Folau Fainga’a (10 Tests)
17. James Slipper (89 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (14 Tests)
19. Rob Simmons (96 Tests)
20. Liam Wright*
21. Will Genia (103 Tests)
22. Matt To’omua (45 Tests)
23. Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests)