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Beale returns for Wallabies in Rugby Championship opener

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Australia head coach Michael Cheika has included Kurtley Beale in his team to play New Zealand’s All Blacks in the Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup opening match.

Beale is back in the Wallabies side for the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final and returns at inside cetre after spending a year in England playing for Wasps.

Surprisingly, Saturday night’s clash will be the first time that Beale will wear the number 12 jersey at Test level.

Even more remarkably, the Wallabies have also never started a Test with a backline featuring Beale, flyhalf Bernard Foley and fullback Israel Folau.

Beale will partner Queensland star Samu Kerevi in the centres after the latter missed the June Test Series with an ankle injury.

Former Rugby League star Curtis Rona has been named to make his Test debut.

Rona, who starred for the Western Force in his first full season of Super Rugby, will line-up on the left wing with Dane Haylett-Petty succumbing to a bicep injury.

Sean McMahon will also make his return to the Test arena after a wrist injury left him sidelined during the mid-year internationals.

Australia

1. Scott Sio , 2. Stephen Moore , 3. Allan Alaalatoa , 4. Rory Arnold , 5. Adam Coleman , 6. Ned Hanigan , 7. Michael Hooper (c) , 8. Sean McMahon, 9. Will Genia , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Curtis Rona, 12. Kurtley Beale, 13. Samu Kerevi, 14. Henry Speight , 15. Israel Folau

Replacements : 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 17. Tom Robertson , 18. Sekope Kepu , 19. Rob Simmons , 20. Lopeti Timani , 21. Nick Phipps , 22. Reece Hodge , 23. Tevita Kuridrani

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