Cape Town - Australia have suffered a blow with the loss of lock Izack Rodda for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Brisbane.
The 21-year-old Rodda, who made his debut in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin, did so well that he has been a permanent choice since, but a shoulder injury during the Rugby Championship campaign has been found to require surgery if he is to be able to play from the start of the 2018 season.
Rodda, from the Reds, had been a key partner for Adam Coleman but it is likely the choice for Saturday will come down to two fellow Queenslanders Lukhan Tui or Rob Simmons for the Brisbane Test.
Simmons, who was enjoying being back in the Wallabies selection frame, said he didn't know how to explain the way his game had become more consistent recently.
"It's just good to be back out there playing and to be given the opportunity to be able to represent my country and be able to improve," he said.
Knowing that Brodie Retallick wouldn't be part of the All Blacks side was a welcome change for the Australians.
"There's plenty to gain," he said of the dead rubber. "You're coming up against the world No.1 team [and] you still want to see what you've got and challenge yourselves against them and get the win.
"We're trying to improve every game and I suppose the last two games [against South Africa and Argentina], one was a draw and one was a win but in isolation there were improvements there that we're looking for to move forward from there," he said.
Fly-half Bernard Foley was keen to see Australia go into the game prepared to cope from the kick-off because recent Tests had shown how valuable being switched on was.
"Whenever we play them, we've got to be in it from the get-go and they're too good a side to give them a lead and try and chase them down," he said.
"For us, it will be about starting well and nullifying their threats."
Foley welcomed the prospect of Karmichael Hunt possibly being included in the side.
"He was exceptional in his first three Test matches this year. He loves the contact side, he loves carrying the ball but he can also ball-play and be a playmaker.
"That's a real credit to his skills and a real asset to our team," he said.