Wallabies Team Named For Rugby Championship Opener With South Africa
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The Wallabies have unveiled a new-look Test side to face the Springboks in their Rugby Championship opener this weekend.
Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes is a shock inclusion in the 23, while James Slipper and Nic White both make long-awaited returns to the international arena.
Brumbies fullback Tom Banks has been rewarded for a fine with the starting fullback spot, with Kurtley Beale on the the bench, and Rebels fullback Dane Haylett-Petty on the wing.
There was no room for James O’Connor to force his way into the side after signing a deal with Rugby Australia and the Reds that made him eligible to play Test rugby.
“This is an opportunity for our team. We really want to begin building momentum to take us towards our goals in 2019,” Cheika said.
“The players are impatient to play at Ellis Park where our Wallabies haven’t had an opportunity to play for quite a while.
“We know we go into the game as heavy underdogs but most of the players have had a touch over three great weeks of training to prepare, so really they just can’t wait to get out and get into the battle.
“I’m feeling a lot belief and commitment from the people in this Wallaby squad. They’ve all invested a tonne of effort into our preparation and I know the 23 men selected to represent us all on Saturday will do us proud.”
1. James Slipper (86 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (7 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (103 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (17 Tests)
5. Rory Arnold (19 Tests)
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (11 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (91 Tests)
8. Isi Naisarani*
9. Nic White (22 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (68 Tests)
11. Reece Hodge (33 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (25 Tests) (vc)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (58 Tests)
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (30 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (3 Tests)
16. Jordan Uelese (2 Tests)
17. Harry Johnson-Holmes*
18. Taniela Tupou (11 Tests)
19. Rob Simmons (94 Tests)
20. Jack Dempsey (10 Tests)
21. Will Genia (100 Tests)
22. Matt To’omua (42 Tests)
23. Kurtley Beale (83 Tests)