Rugby Championship

Giteau back to face Springboks

2015-07-16 07:05
Matt Giteau (Gallo)

Brisbane - Matt Giteau was recalled by the Wallabies after a four-year absence on Thursday while half-backs Quade Cooper and Will Genia were reunited for this weekend's Rugby Championship opener against South Africa in Brisbane.

Toulon-based Giteau was named at inside centre while the Reds pair - flyhalf Cooper and scrumhalf Genia - will play together for the Wallabies for the first time since 2013.

They are part of coach Michael Cheika's first squad of the season to face the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday on the road to the World Cup in England and Wales in September.

Giteau will make his 93rd appearance for Australia, while his Toulon team-mate, wing Drew Mitchell, was named among the replacements.

"With new combinations comes a new level of energy to our team environment and Will, Quade and Matthew certainly bring that," Cheika said.

"Matt is a true professional and his impact on the team dynamic has been immediate.

"His form in Toulon and work ethic since joining the squad has been first class."

There are four changes to the team that faced England at Twickenham in the final Test of 2014 on the Wallabies' European Tour.

The other change is Tevita Kuridrani, who returns at outside centre alongside Giteau.

In the forwards, giant Waratahs star Will Skelton will partner Rob Simmons in the locks, while skipper Stephen Moore, James Slipper and Sekope Kepu make up the front row.

Scott Higginbotham has beaten Ben McCalman to the No 8 spot and vice-captain Michael Hooper edged David Pocock to join Scott Fardy in the back row.

Former Wallabies captain Pocock returns to the Australian set-up after missing the last two international seasons through injury.

Captain Stephen Moore also returns at hooker after a knee injury wrecked his international season last year.

"It has been a huge effort by Stephen to put himself in this position to once again captain his country," Cheika said.

"David has showed tremendous grit and determination to return to the Wallabies in challenging circumstances.

"To be out of the Wallabies environment for two years and return a better player shows his character. It is something he and this country should be proud of."

Pocock is joined on the bench by another former Wallabies captain, James Horwill.

"With leadership comes responsibility as well. The bench will play a pivotal role in ensuring we close out the game as well as we open it," Cheika added.



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

South Africa

15 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

Substitutes: 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 Mvovo

Read more on:    wallabies  |  rugby championship  |  matt giteau  |  rugby

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