The Wallabies have made a whopping eight changes to their starting XV for Thursday’s Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks in Melbourne.
Already underdogs, Australia has been badly hit by injury with Taniela Tupou (calf), Noah Lolesio and Hunter Paisami (both concussion) all ruled out.
But perhaps the biggest surprises are at halfback, where Jake Gordon replaces Nic White, and openside flanker, where Pete Samu comes in for Fraser McReight.
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Andrew Kellaway will start at fullback in place of Reece Hodge, Lalakai Foketi is in for Paisami at inside centre and Bernard Foley will play his first Test in three years, replacing Lolesio at five-eighth.
Jed Holloway switches from blindside flanker to lock for the unavailable Rory Arnold, with Rob Leota slotting in at No.6.
Dave Porecki has been preferred to Folau Fainga’a at hooker following the flat 24-8 Rugby Championship loss to the Springboks.
“It’s great to have Bernard’s experience and he brings plenty of voice and passion for the gold jersey,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said, hoping that Foley will have the same sort of impact as Quade Cooper did last year.
“They are very similar characters. Fantastic work ethic, real massive contribution off the field around meetings, very strong tactical understanding. It’s been great having him in.”
Foley believed he was a more complete player after his experiences in Japan.
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“I’m a lot more well rounded in terms of seeing the opportunity and embracing it.
“Last time, there was a lot going on, and I was trying to please a lot of people, and doing it for some of the right reasons and some wrong,” the 33-year-old said.
WALLABIES (15-1): Andrew Kellaway, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Rob Leota, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, James Slipper (c)
Reservese: Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Pone Fa’amausili, Darcy Swain, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia
ALL BLACKS (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (c), Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan de Groot
Reserves: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea
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