Rugby Championship News

Australia make seven changes for Pumas

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Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika has named a Wallabies team with seven changes for their their Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Mendoza.

Cheika has made some big name changes as Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper have rotated to the bench.

Among the forwards, Reds veteran prop Greg Holmes will start for the first time since 2007, while Western Force stalwart Ben McCalman returns at No.8 and David Pocock comes in at openside flanker, with former captain Hooper on the bench.

In the backs, NSW Waratahs scrum-half Nick Phipps and Brumbies centre Matt Toomua replace injured pair Will Genia and Matt Giteau, while Joe Tomane takes over from Rob Horne on the wing.

Cooper makes way for Waratahs pivot Bernard Foley as head coach Michael Cheika gives key players the chance to press their claims to be in the starting team for the Bledisloe Cup tie against New Zealand in Sydney next month.

“We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad to be able to cover for the injuries we sustained last week against the Springboks,” Cheika said, referring to the last-gasp 24-20 win in Brisbane.

“They all deserve their start against the Pumas and they now have an opportunity to build on the performance last week and stake their claims.

“We have two fine playmakers in Quade and Bernard. Both players can make an enormous impact on our team.”

Saturday’s Test will also be an important milestone for Kurtley Beale, who is set to earn his 50th Test cap, off the reserves bench, after recovering from a quad strain that kept him out of the Super Rugby finals series.

“We know Argentina will provide a physical challenge in this match, and our reserves will have a significant role to play,” Cheika said.

“Last week they (the bench) got us home against the Springboks, and I will be looking forward to an even a greater impact from our players entering game this weekend.”

A Wallabies victory would see them retain the Puma Trophy, which has been in Australia’s hands since it was first awarded in 2000.

Australia

Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane; Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Fardy; Rob Simmons, Will Skelton; Greg Holmes, Stephen Moore (capt), James Slipper.

Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Sekope Kepu, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale.

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