Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has made six changes to his starting line-up ahead of Saturday’s match against South Africa at the iconic Adelaide Oval, which will be the first Test to be played in the South Australian capital since 2004.
Both sides will compete for the Mandela Challenge Plate, with the Test also part of a double header with the Wallaroos against the Black Ferns in the previous game.
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Remarkably, Rennie decided to go for a split on the bench: six-two; a strategy regularly employed by the Boks, and which has made their replacements known as the “Explosive Line”.
For Australia, 57-Test capped Rhys Hodge returns to the starting line-up at full-back, with Tom Wright moving to right wing and Marika Koroibete on the familiar left wing for the Rugby Championship match.
After an early return to Australia from Argentina for a family bereavement, Allan Alaalatoa will start in the front row in a tight prop alongside Folau Fainga’a and clubmate James Sleeper, who is playing in his 120th Test. Slipper will also captain the team this weekend.
The experience of Rebel stalwart Matt Phillip was called upon to be named in the second row pairing with Rory Arnold, who made his first gold jersey appearance of the year in the team’s last game in San Juan.
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The back row remains unchanged for the third week running, with Jed Holloway continuing his impressive start to his Test career at blindside flanker. He will be paired with Fraser McRaith, who is selected at openside, and Rob Valetini, who will wear the number eight jersey for the 16th consecutive Test.
Experienced Nick White will once again be the starting scrum-half in partnership with Brumbies teammate Noah Lawlesio, who will play his first Test against the Springboks on Saturday afternoon.
Queensland center Hunter Paisami is another returnee to the starting line-up, reviving his midfield combination with speedy Len Ikitau, who will wear the No.13 jersey.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s great to have some experienced players back in the squad this weekend. We understand that respect is earned every day and we get the opportunity to earn it against the reigning world champions on Saturday afternoon.
“Being back at home in front of our fans is very motivating, especially in Adelaide, where we haven’t played in 18 years.”
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- James Slipper (c) (119 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (30 tests)
- Alan Alaalatoa (56 Tests)
- Rory Arnold (30 Tests)
- Matt Phillip (24 Tests)
- Jed Holloway (2 tests)
- Fraser MacRaith (4 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (23 Tests)
- Nick White (52 Tests)
- Noah Lolezio (12 tests)
- Marika Caroibete (47 tests)
- Paisami Hunter (18 tests)
- Len Ikitov (17 tests)
- Tom Wright (14 Tests)
- Reece Hodge (57 Tests) Subs
- David Paretsky (3 tests)
- Scott Sio (71 Tests)
- Taniela Tupou (42 tests)
- Darcy Swain (13 Tests)
- Rob Leota (10 Tests)
- Pete Samu (24 Tests)
- Tate McDermott (17 Tests)
- Andrew Kellaway (14 Tests)