Sydney - The Wallabies made seven changes to their starting line-up on
Thursday for the Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Mendoza this
weekend, with Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper among the casualties.
Among the forwards, Reds veteran prop Greg Holmes will start for the first
time since 2007, while Force stalwart Ben McCalman returns at No 8 and David
Pocock comes in at openside flank, with former captain Hooper on the bench.
In the backs, Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps and Brumbies centre Matt Toomua
replace injured pair Will Genia and Matt Giteau, while Joe Tomane takes over
from Rob Horne on the wing.
Cooper makes way for Waratahs pivot Bernard Foley as head coach Michael
Cheika gives key players the chance to press their claims to be in the starting
team for the Bledisloe Cup tie against New Zealand in Sydney next month.
"We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad to be able to
cover for the injuries we sustained last week against the Springboks,"
Cheika said, referring to the last-gasp 24-20 win in Brisbane.
"They all deserve their start against the Pumas and they now have an
opportunity to build on the performance last week and stake their claims.
"We have two fine playmakers in Quade and Bernard. Both players can
make an enormous impact on our team."
Saturday's Test will also be an important milestone for Kurtley Beale, who
is set to earn his 50th Test cap, off the reserves bench, after recovering from
a quad strain that kept him out of the Super Rugby finals series.
"We know Argentina will provide a physical challenge in this match, and
our reserves will have a significant role to play," Cheika said.
"Last week they (the bench) got us home against the Springboks, and I
will be looking forward to an even a greater impact from our players entering
game this weekend."
A Wallabies victory would see them retain the Puma Trophy, which has been in
Australia's hands since it was first awarded in 2000.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt
Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman,
7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Greg
Holmes, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dean Mumm,
20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Kurtley Beale