Rugby Championship News

Wallabies make one change for All Blacks




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 Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has resisted change for the return Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test by making only one injury enforced change.

McKenzie’s hand was forced to change when Hugh McMeniman aggravated an old injury and has now been sidelined for the rest of the year as he needs shoulder surgery.

Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy who made his international debut last weekend off the replacements bench comes into the starting line up in place of McMeniman.

The Wallabies were well beaten 29-47 in the opening Test which led to speculation that a number of players could be dropped.

However flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg hold their places despite unconvincing Test debuts last week while Israel Folau and James O’Connor remain on the wing.

New coach Ewen McKenzie had hinted after defeat in Sydney last weekend at possible changes in the backline, where Folau saw little action and O’Connor was caught out of position when the All Blacks scored two of their six tries.

But McKenzie said he was backing his new-look squad to improve in the return Test in Wellington.

“You can’t fudge experience and I know this group learned a great deal from last week and will be much better for the experience on Saturday night,” McKenzie said when naming the team.

“We made a decision to reward players that were in-form and who we believed were capable of executing what we are trying to achieve as a group. That doesn’t change overnight or following one losing result.”

The Wallabies need to win on Saturday if they are to have any hope of stopping the All Blacks from claiming the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th consecutive year and if they are to snap a 12-year losing streak on New Zealand soil.

McKenzie stressed he was more focused on developing his squad rather than dwelling on the past.

“Right now I’m more concerned with how each individual responds to the defeat. We need to fix aspects of our performance but we will get better the more time we spend together,” he said.

“However, in saying that, you only get a finite number of chances at Test level so it’s important that you don’t let the moment pass.

“That’s been made very clear this week as has the expectation of the level of improvement we need from each player within the squad.”

Fardy’s promotion to the starting line-up caps a remarkable journey – only two seasons ago the 29-year-old was uncapped at Super Rugby level and playing for Japanese club Kamaishi Seawaves.

His elevation to the run-on side brings lock Kane Douglas into the replacements as the only other change to the squad.

Australia’s Wallabies have not beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand since their 23-15 victory at Dunedin in 2001.


Jesse Mogg; Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Lealiifano, James O’Connor; Matt Toomua, Will Genia; Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper.

Replacements:: Saia Faingaa, Scott Sio, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Liam Gill, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani.

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