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James O'Connor injury forces major Wallabies shake-up in team for Bledisloe 3

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29th October, 2020
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The Wallabies have been forced into a major shake-up of their team for Bledisloe 3, with James O’Connor ruled out with a knee injury.

Noah Lolesio will start at flyhalf in O’Connor’s place, and Irae Simone will take the no.12 jersey made vacant by Matt To’omua’s injury. Neither of them have ever played in a Test match, but were the first choice 10-12 pairing at the Brumbies this year.

There are two further debutants on the bench, with openside flanker Fraser McReight replacing his Reds captain Liam Wright, and fellow Queenslander Tate McDermott coming in for Jake Gordon as backup scrumhalf.

Another Red, Jordan Petaia, has been moved back into the starting side after a strong showing off the bench at Eden Park, coming into outside centre for Hunter Paisami, who has been shifted to the bench in the number 23 jersey.

Reece Hodge remains the utility back, and coach Dave Rennie confirmed he will cover flyhalf should Lolesio not be able to finish the match, having trained at no.10 over the past week.

At fullback, Rennie has decided to bring in Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty for Tom Banks, who has been solid under the high ball without offering much in attack in the two games of the series so far.

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While the backline has seen a major overhaul, the forwards have remained fairly steady. Ned Hanigan retains his place at blindside flanker in an unchanged back row, while the lock pairing of Matt Philip and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has also been preserved.

The only change to the starting pack comes in the front row, where Allan Alaalatoa has taken Taniela Tupou’s place in the run-on side. The Brumbies captain starts alongside James Slipper and Brandon Paenga-Amosa, while Tupou will come off the bench along with Scott Sio, Jordan Uelese, Rob Simmons and Wright.

“It’s really exciting to be able to name four more debutants in the squad this week,” coach Dave Rennie said.

“Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we have no doubt they’re ready to take the step up to Test rugby. Tate and Fraser have had big Super Rugby seasons and have impressed in training over the past month.

“It’s an especially significant night for us with the chance to represent and celebrate our First Nations people by wearing the Indigenous jersey on home soil in front of our Wallabies family.”

Wallabies team for Bledisloe 3

1. James Slipper
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5. Matt Philip
6. Ned Hanigan
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Harry Wilson
9. Nic White
10. Noah Lolesio
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Irae Simone
13. Jordan Petaia
14. Filipo Daugunu
15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Bench
16. Jordan Uelese
17. Scott Sio
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Rob Simmons
20. Fraser McReight
21. Tate McDermott
22. Reece Hodge
23. Hunter Paisami

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