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Two debutants for Wallabies as Cheika names team to play Ireland

Australia has put all of its chips on the international side bringing in revenue. (Photo: Steven Markham/Getty Images)
Editor
7th June, 2018
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The Wallabies have named a mostly experienced line-up for the first Test against Ireland although, with two debutants named on the field and another on the bench, it could be a fresh look for the Australian national side on Saturday.

Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu will pull on the gold jumper for the first time on Saturday night, with Paenga-Amosa to line-up at hooker and Timu starting at No. 8.

Paenga-Amosa – who was toiling in the Shute Shield last year – has been rewarded for his strong season thus far with the Reds, while his teammate Timu will look to cap off a remarkable return from a serious knee injury in 2016 when he runs out alongside skipper Michael Hooper and the returning David Pocock.

It’ll be the first time Australia have had a genuine No. 8 line up in the position in some time. Timu – once a member of the Brisbane Broncos U20 squad – had previously moonlighted as an Uber driver to supplement his modest income as a fringe Queensland player.

Pete Samu, named as part of a six-two bench, is the third uncapped player named and could potentially make his debut if called on.

It’s been a whirlwind few months for Samu, with the current Crusader signing a contract for next year with the Brumbies just a day before the announcement of the Wallabies squad and sensationally being granted a release by the NZRU to play for Australia.

Tolu Latu has also been a surprise addition to the bench after his inclusion to the squad roughly 24 hours ago.

The rest of the team is relatively settled, although Wallabies fans will be nervous about Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi being partnered in the centres again after they were torched by the All Blacks last Bledisloe Cup.

It’ll be an interesting test for the Wallabies as they look to put a disappointing end to 2017 behind them. They’ve lost three of their past four Tests against the Irish, although they’ve won the last nine matches on Australian soil.

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The Wallabies’ last home loss to Ireland was at the SCG in 1979.

Wallabies team to play Ireland – Game 1

1. Scott Sio
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Izack Rodda
5. Adam Coleman
6. David Pocock
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Caleb Timu
9. Will Genia
10. Bernard Foley
11. Dane Haylett-Petty
12. Kurtley Beale
13. Samu Kerevi
14. Marika Koroibete
15. Israel Folau

Reserves
16. Tolu Latu
17. Allan Alaalatoa
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Rob Simmons
20. Lukhan Tui
21. Pete Samu
22. Nick Phipps
23. Reece Hodge