Rugby Championship News

Hodge at centre as Polota-Nau starts for Australia

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Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika has named his Wallabies team to play New Zealand’s All Blacks in the Rugby Championship and included Reece Hodge at outside centre.

This will be the first time that the 23-year old will start in the 13 jersey but the versatile back has played in nearly every other position in the Wallabies backline.

Veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau will get the chance to add to his 82 Test caps after returning home from club duty in England to start in the hooker position while captain Michael Hooper (hamstring) and Dane Haylett-Petty (knee) have overcome injury concerns.

In-form prop Tom Robertson will earn just his third starting appearance in the absence of Scott Sio, after the latter was ruled out due to a shoulder complaint.

Boom youngster Jack Maddocks may earn his Test debut after being named on Michael Cheika’s bench alongside Matt Toomua, who has recently signed with the Melbourne Rebels for the 2019 Super Rugby season.

The Wallabies won their last meeting with New Zealand 23-18 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last October to break a seven match losing streak dating back to August 2015.

The three-Test Bledisloe Cup Series will move to Auckland next weekend before the final clash in Yokohama, Japan in October.

Australia

1. Tom Robertson 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 3. Sekope Kepu 4. Izack Rodda 5. Adam Coleman 6. Lukhan Tui 7. Michael Hooper (c) 8. David Pocock 9. Will Genia 10. Bernard Foley 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Kurtley Beale 13. Reece Hodge 14. Dane Haylett-Petty 15. Israel Folau

Replacements : 16. Tolu Latu 17. Allan Alaalatoa 18. Taniela Tupou 19. Rob Simmons 20. Pete Samu 21. Nick Phipps 22. Matt Toomua 23. Jack Maddocks

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