Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has named a strong team for his side’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Canberra on Saturday.
Ex-captain Stephen Moore is surprisingly not included in Cheika’s match-day 23 having missed his side’s draw with the Springboks in Perth last weekend for the birth of his third child.
Exciting young Melbourne Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese, who made his debut against South Africa last weekend despite having only 28 minutes of Super Rugby under his belt, keeps his place on the bench after an impressive 20 minute cameo against South Africa.
While former NRL star and Melbourne Rebels back Marika Koroibete is set to make his international bow after being added to the bench.
If, as expected, the Fijian-born winger does make his debut off the bench on Saturday, it would represent a pretty meteoric rise for the former Wests Tigers and Melbourne Storm flyer, who only crossed codes 12 months ago and has only played 13 Super Rugby games.
The Fijian-born star admitted that his probable debut had come earlier than expected and that he couldn’t wait to get out on the park.
He said, via the Sydney Morning Herald
“I thought it (debut) was probably going to come next year, so to get an early run is great…its an honour and I can’t wait to get out there with the boys”.
A dangerous runner with the ability to take people on, Koroibete has scored an impressive six tries in 13 games for the Rebels.
And it is this ability to take men on that Michael Cheika wants the 25-year-old to carry into the international arena.
“I want him to get the ball and take someone on, that’s when he’s so good.
“His strength is that he’s got some serious ability when it comes to carrying the ball at the opposition” he said.
Koroibete, the latest in a long line of league converts to make it into the Test arena, replaces another ex-league star, Curtis Rona, with the former Northern Queensland and Canterbury Bulldogs man dropping out of the match-day squad.
In the only change to his starting XV from last week, the experienced Rob Simmons comes in at second-row in place of dropped Brumbies’ star Rory Arnold who has been told that he needs to up his work-rate.
With once-capped Queensland Reds tyro Izack Rodda stepping up to the bench to offer cover at second-row.
As the men in green and gold prepare for a tough examination up front against the physical Argentinians, the news that No8 Sean McMahon has overcome a thigh injury to take his place in the middle of the back-row, is a big boost for Cheika.
The abrasive 22-year-old has been one of the Wallabies’ best players this campaign thus far and they will once again look to him to give them crucial go-forward.
With 626 caps, the Wallabies line-up boasts plenty of experience as they seek to pick up their first win of the championship
Having let a ten-point lead slip against South Africa, Cheika’s men will be looking to take out their frustrations on a Pumas side who pushed the All Blacks hard last weekend.
Australia team: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. Ned Hanigan, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Sean McMahon, 9. Will Genia, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Reece Hodge, 12. Kurtley Beale, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Israel Folau.
Reserves: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Izack Rodda, 20. Jack Dempsey, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Samu Kerevi, 23. Marika Koroibete.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena