The Kurtley Beale No.10 experiment has been aborted, with Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie naming Super Rugby title-winning halves Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps to take on South Africa in Perth this Saturday.
Beale and Brumbies halfback Nic White have both been benched following the Wallabies’ 51-20 flogging from the All Blacks, but centre Matt Toomua, winger Rob Horne and star fullback Israel Folau have all held their spots in the backline.
Adam Ashley Cooper has shifted to the wing to cover for the retired Pat McCabe (neck), with Tevita Kuridrani getting the call-up at outside centre for the Patersons Stadium clash.
McKenzie’s decision hands Foley and Phipps their first starting game side-by-side since leading the Waratahs to their first ever Super Rugby title one month ago.
“They’ve got a proven combination at Super Rugby level and we look forward to seeing how that translates into the Test environment,” McKenzie said.
“It’s naturally disappointing for the two guys who missed out on the starting team in Nic and Kurtley, but the reality is we have a lot of good players in those playmaking positions.
In the only other starting change, Queensland rake James Hanson has been called up after a season-ending injury to Nathan Charles put further strains on Australia’s hooker woes.
To combat the abrasive Springboks pack, McKenzie has opted for a forward-heavy 6-2 split on the bench.
Lock James Horwill returns to the matchday line-up at the expense of behemoth youngster Will Skelton, while Western Force captain Matt Hodgson and Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a get their first opportunities for Australia in 2014.
“Traditionally they (South Africa) are a forward-orientated side which uses their size, power and set-piece to put pressure on the opposition,” he said.
“You have to confront that head-on and match fire with fire.
“The addition of an extra forward also offers us greater flexibility in how we approach our substitutions.”
The Wallabies are sitting in last place two rounds into the Rugby Championship.
While they drew 12-all in game one against the All Blacks, Argentina has jagged two losing bonus points against South Africa and sits in third place due to a better for-and-against.
Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, James Hanson, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga’a, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Nic White, Kurtley Beale.
A few days ago The Roar asked you to vote for who Dave Rennie should pick in his Bledisloe 3 Wallabies team. The votes have been tallied up and here are the results. Just a quick heads up, this poll was conducted before Isi Naisarani and Connal McInerney were added to the squad and that’s […]
As Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad prepare for the third Bledisloe fixture that could decide the Cup’s fate, there are still many questions looming around which players should be included in Australia’s matchday squad.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan accepts RA must do more to unearth the next Indigenous Wallaby to follow in the famous footsteps of the Ella brothers and others like Kurtley Beale and Andrew Walker.