Michael Cheika has officially announced this morning his side which will take on the considerable challenge of halting the momentum of Grand-Slam champions England, thus overcoming ex-teammate and rival Eddie Jones.
In a squad which see’s the introduction of an element of old and new, Cheika has decided to reward form by drafting in three uncapped players while also reincorporating previously established stalwarts within the Wallabies set-up.
Australia possesses a devastating midfield pairing as Queensland Reds centre Samu Kerevi has been granted his first senior call-up and will partner Tevita Kuridrani in a partnership which is sure to cause havoc for whatever centre-combination Eddie Jones decides to opt for.
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) June 9, 2016
This see’s Israel Folau remain at his test position of full-back despite speculation that he would be brought in at midfield having shone for New South Wales Waratahs in this season’s Super Rugby.
Colossus second row Rory Arnold has trained is way into a starting berth in what will be his test debut alongside Rob Simmons, while ex-captain James Horwill, having cut his honeymoon short to reunite with the Aussies, has been drafted into the bench following a strong season with Harlequins and with provide plenty of experience and physicality if called upon.
Cheika has stuck with his guns in the back-row despite increasing pressure being surmounted on Michael Hooper for his form thus far in Super Rugby, however the Waratahs back-row will be allowed to pick up where he left off following the World Cup alongside compatriots David Pocock and Scott Fardy to re-establish Australia’s ‘Holy-Trinity’ at the rear of the scrum.
There was no room in the starting XV for Christian Lealiifano who only came into the training squad this week, but will cover a lot of area from the bench as he can play at both 10 and 12.
Dane Haylett-Petty is the third debutante as the Force fullback will line-out at the wing on Saturday after what has been a superb Super Rugby season thus far.
Cheika said the blend of youth and experience would re-energise the team.
“We have a good mix of new blood and players who have been connected to the group for some time and the energy and enjoyment within the group has been excellent.
“The work ethic and application of every player in the squad shows just how much the Wallabies jersey means to each of them, and these 23 players know they represent the group when they run out on Saturday.”
Australia takes on England in the first Test at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 8pm AEST.
1. Scott Sio – Brumbies (16 Tests)
2. Stephen Moore (c) – Brumbies (102 Tests)
3. Greg Holmes – Reds (24 Tests)
4. Rory Arnold* – Brumbies
5. Rob Simmons – Reds (60 Tests)
6. Scott Fardy – Brumbies (30 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (vc) – Waratahs (51 Tests)
8. David Pocock – Brumbies (55 Tests)
9. Nick Phipps – Waratahs (39 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley – Waratahs (27 Tests)
11. Rob Horne (vc) – Waratahs (29 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi* – Reds
13. Tevita Kuridrani – Brumbies (31 Tests)
14. Dane Haylett-Petty* – Western Force
15. Israel Folau – Waratahs (38 Tests)
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau – Waratahs (61 Tests)
17. James Slipper – Reds (74 Tests)
18. Sekope Kepu -Waratahs (63 Tests)
19. James Horwill – Harlequins (61 Tests)
20. Dean Mumm – Waratahs (44 Tests)
21. Sean McMahon -Rebels (6 Tests)
22. Nick Frisby* – Reds
23. Christian Leali’ifano – Brumbies (16 Tests)
(source via rugby.com.au)