Rugby

France-based trio bolster Wallabies

2016-08-18 04:50
Michael Cheika (Getty)

Sydney - Coach Michael Cheika on Thursday named overseas trio Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Will Genia for the Wallabies opening Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand this weekend.

Cheika also made a key change in the forwards, choosing Ben McCalman at blindside flank instead of Scott Fardy for Saturday's Test which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup match.

France-based trio Ashley-Cooper, Giteau and Genia along with lock Kane Douglas return after missing the home series clean sweep loss against England in June.

McCalman joins Michael Hooper and David Pocock in a new-look back row with Fardy named among the reserves.

"We've been working on a few things there and Ben has shown his quality there and we know that New Zealand are the best lineout defenders in the game," Cheika said.

“We're going to have to be on our money tactically in what we do there and each one in his role, really clear on what their job is inside of our lineout."

Old combinations will be reunited in the backline with Genia and Bernard Foley forming the halves alongside Giteau and Tevita Kuridrani in the centres.

“Will's worked very hard from a fitness point of view I know since he's come back," Cheika said.

"He's got plenty of experience to know how to manage himself in a game and when to take advantage of the situations that are there and experience in the halves is very important."

Cheika found no room for Quade Cooper and said the playmaking flyhalf had room to improve.

“There's a few things that I want him, and we've spoken about it, that I'd like him to improve on to really claim that starting role and I'm sure he'll be doing that,” he said.

Brumbies prop Allan Ala’alatoa is in line to make his debut after being on the bench alongside veterans Tatafu Polota-Nau and James Slipper.

Western Force outside back Dane Haylett-Petty retained his place on the wing after playing in the England series, with vice-captain Rob Horne relegated to the replacements.

Captain and hooker Stephen Moore will line up for his 106th Test appearance at the Sydney Olympic stadium, while winger Ashley-Cooper is set to play his 115th international.

The Wallabies are the defending Rugby Championship title holders but have won just one of their last 13 encounters against the world champions.

Australia have not held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, with the All Blacks keeping the trophy 13 times since then.

Teams:

All Blacks

15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Waisake Naholo, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 7. Sam Cane, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Nathan Harris, 1. Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Aaron Cruden, 23. Julian Savea

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Ala’alatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Rob Horne

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