Brisbane - Coach Michael Cheika said on Friday he is looking for halves
Quade Cooper and Will Genia to provide the variation to trouble the Springboks
in their Rugby Championship Test in Brisbane.
Cooper and long-time Reds halves partner Genia will be reunited for
Australia in Saturday's southern hemisphere series opener at Suncorp Stadium.
Cheika said he agonised over the decision to go with the Test veteran pair -
who featured at the 2011 World Cup - ahead of incumbents Bernard Foley and Nick
Phipps and indicated their more diverse playbook swayed him.
Cooper has also helped steer the Wallabies to victory in seven of his 11
previous clashes with the Springboks.
"I just thought these two lads were the right guys to do the job in
this Test match," Cheika told reporters.
"The skill set they've got is something that I want to see them use
against South Africa, the variation they might bring to the game.
"It was a very difficult choice but it's one I really believe in."
A strong performance from Cooper and Genia will put them in the box seat as
Cheika's first-choice options in the count down to the World Cup in England and
Wales later this year.
There are only five Tests left before Australia's opening World Cup match
against Fiji and Cheika has initially preferred the Reds pair over Foley and
Phipps, who played this season under Cheika at the Waratahs.
Captain Stephen Moore said time was of the essence for the Wallabies.
"You look at the calendar and it's three and a bit months and the World
Cup's over," Moore said.
"It's an unbelievably short period of time so we need to really focus
on getting it right early and getting some momentum before we go over
Moore warned not to expect too much too soon from the new-look Wallabies.
They could take time to gel with a new combination around the scrumbase and
inside backs, including the return of French-based Matt Giteau at inside centre
alongside Cooper and Genia and the preference for Scott Higginbotham over
incumbent Ben McCalman at No 8.
"We know it's not going to be the finished product tomorrow, it's not
going to go perfectly, but we'll go out there and do our best," said
South African captain Victor Matfield admitted he was wary of Giteau after
leaving his Barbarians experience at Twickenham in 2009 impressed by the
"I was lucky enough to play in a Barbarians game with him," Matfield
said on Friday.
"He is a quality player who understands the game and understands how to
"You see what he has done for (his French club) Toulon -- he will bring
a lot to the team."
But Matfield backed South Africa's new look midfield combination, saying
Australia were in the same boat with Giteau's addition.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer named the rookie midfield pairing Damian de
Allende, who has played just three Tests, and debutant Jesse Kriel.
"They (de Allende, Kriel) are very young but that is good, you need
that excitement of the youngsters coming through," 121-Test line-out
master Matfield said.
"They played together last week (in 46-10 win over World XV last
15 Israel Folau, 14
Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Rob Horne,
10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6
Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen
Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu
Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 James Horwill, 20 David
Pocock, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Drew Mitchell
Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7
Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben
Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood
de Jager, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi