Rugby Championship

Hooper, Pocock start against All Blacks

2015-08-06 07:07
Michael Hooper (Gallo Images)

Sydney - Loose forwards Michael Hooper and David Pocock have both been named in Australia's starting line-up for the Rugby Championship decider against New Zealand here on Saturday.

It will be the first time the pair will have started a Test together with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika assembling a mobile pack, indicating an intention to play a high-paced game.

Hooper has won the right to the No 7 jersey with Pocock at No 8.

"Australian rugby is very fortunate to have some quality flankers competing for the number seven jumper," Cheika said when announcing the line-up on Thursday.

"Both players have been in outstanding form for club and country this season and have shown their class in sharing the spot in the first two matches.

"They now have an opportunity to start a Test together which they are very excited about."

Cheika has shaken up his forward pack for the final-round clash between the only two unbeaten sides in the competition that also includes South Africa and Argentina.

James Horwill, Dean Mumm and Scott Sio have been promoted to the starting fifteen with Mumm's inclusion forcing the relegation of Will Skelton to the bench for the first time this season.

In the backs, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps remain the preferred halves pairing while Matt Giteau returns from injury to replace Matt Toomua in a centres partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.

Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau form a potent back three.

Among the replacements, Kurtley Beale, Toomua and Nic White provide backline cover with Quade Cooper missing out.

Teams:

Australia:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, (captain), 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale

New Zealand:

15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ben Franks , 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

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