James O’Connor was the shock inclusion in Michael Cheika’s Wallabies team selection for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks.
O’Connor made his first appearance for Australia since 2013 two weeks ago in the win over Argentina when he was sprung from the bench.
However, Cheika has now entrusted him to start at outside centre for the Wallabies as he partners Samu Kerevi.
O’Connor’s inclusion means that Tevita Kuridrani drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.
Another surprise move is that Bernard Foley drops out of the matchday 23 entirely as Christian Lealiifano starts at out-half with Matt Toomua providing cover on the bench.
Nic White also gets the nod ahead of Will Genia at scrum-half.
It is certainly an interesting selection from Cheika and with Steve Hansen naming his strongest All Blacks side available to him, the likes of O’Connor, Lealiifano and White will certainly be put to the test.
Wallabies team to face New Zealand
(1-15): Scott Sio, Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Lukhan Sakakai-Loto, Michael Hooper (c), Isi Naisarani, Nic White, Christian Lealiifano, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, James O’Connor, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale.
Bench: Folau Faingaa, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Luke Jones, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Tom Banks.