One debutant in Wallabies squad for clash against Argentina

Daniel Jeffrey Editor

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    Marika Koroibete is on the verge of making his Wallabies debut after being named on the bench to face Argentina this weekend.

    Melbourne Rebel Koroibete comes into the match-day 23 in place of fellow rugby league convert Curtis Rona, who has been dropped from the side and is available for the Perth Spirit’s Round 3 match in the NRC.

    Coach Michael Cheika made just one change to the starting XV, with lock Rory Arnold falling out of the squad and Rob Simmons taking his place next to Adam Coleman in the second row. Izack Rodda has been called into the squad to take Simmons’ vacated bench position.

    Much like Rona, Arnold’s omission from the squad is not due to injury, and the towering Brumbies lock will be available for the Canberra Vikings in the NRC this week.

    The rest of the forward pack remains unchanged from the side which drew with the Springboks last Saturday. Cheika has opted to persevere with inexperienced flanker Ned Hanigan in the number six jersey, resisting calls to drop the Waratahs youngster following a poor display in Perth.

    Hanigan is joined once again by Sean McMahon and skipper Michael Hooper in the back row, while Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kepu will form the front of the scrum.

    The entire backline remains unchanged; Israel Folau will line up at fullback with Reece Hodge and Henry Speight on the wings, and Bernard Foley and Will Genia have both retained their places in the halves.

    Tevita Kuridrani, fresh off inking a new two-year deal that will keep him in Australian rugby until the end of the 2019 World Cup, will be joined by Kurtley Beale in the centres.

    On the bench, there is still no place in the side for powerful back-rower Lopeti Timani, who will be lining up in the NRC this week after Jack Dempsey kept his place in the reserves.

    Dempsey is one of five forwards who will start on the pine – Rodda, Jordan Uelese, Tom Robertson and Allan Alaalatoa being the others – while Nick Phipps and Samu Kerevi are the reserve backs alongside Koroibete.

    The Wallabies go into their clash with the Pumas desperate to grab their first win of the Rugby Championship, although they do enter the clash slightly ahead of Argentina on the competition ladder thanks to their draw against the Springboks.

    The Pumas are yet to gain a point this season, having fallen to the All Blacks last weekend despite a gallant performance in New Zealand. The visiting side’s recent record against the Wallabies does little to inspire hopes of a win either – Argentina have lost their last four matches against Australia, and haven’t notched an away win against the Wallabies since 1983.

    Wallabies team to face Argentina

    1. Scott Sio (35 Tests)
    2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (74 Tests)
    3. Sekope Kepu (83 Tests)
    4. Rob Simmons (74 Tests)
    5. Adam Coleman (14 Tests)
    6. Ned Hanigan (6 Tests)
    7. Michael Hooper (c) (71 Tests)
    8. Sean McMahon (18 Tests)
    9. Will Genia (vc) (81 Tests)
    10. Bernard Foley (vc) (48 Tests)
    11. Reece Hodge (16 Tests)
    12. Kurtley Beale (63 Tests)
    13. Tevita Kuridrani (50 Tests)
    14. Henry Speight (15 Tests)
    15. Israel Folau (58 Tests)

    Reserves
    16. Jordan Uelese (1 Test)
    17. Tom Robertson (12 Tests)
    18. Allan Alaalatoa (15 Tests)
    19. Izack Rodda (1 Test)
    20. Jack Dempsey (2 Tests)
    21. Nick Phipps (54 Tests)
    22. Samu Kerevi (10 Tests)
    23. Marika Koroibete*
    *uncapped player

    IN: Marika Koroibete, Izack Rodda.

    OUT: Curtis Rona, Rory Arnold (both omitted).

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.