Wallabies coach Dave Rennie Thursday had a bet with four rookies in his squad for the match they must win against the All Blacks this weekend, while his opponent Ian Foster made three changes.
New Zealand are eyeing an undeniable 2-0 Bledisloe Cup draw on Saturday in Sydney after winning the second Test in Auckland and drawing the opening match in Wellington.
Rennie dumped full-back Tom Banks to replace veteran Dane Haylett-Petty, who has returned from injury and is known to be one of Australia’s best under a high ball.
He also cited his debuts Noah Lolesio at the fly-half and Irae Simone in mid-inside, with seasoned Matt Toomua and James O’Connor both injured.
“It’s interesting to mention four more debutants in the squad this week,” said Rennie, who also put forward Fraser McReight and defender Tate McDermott on the bench.
“Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we are sure they are ready to take a step into the rugby Test.”
Explosive Jordan Petaia will play her first Test in Australia after being favored over Hunter Paisami off center, while Allan Alaalatoa gets the nod in front of Taniela Tupou with a tight head support.
“We know New Zealand will face another formidable challenge, but we have prepared well and will be ready on Saturday night,” added Rennie.
– Ready to go –
Foster made three changes to his run-on side, giving the number eight Hoskins Sotutu his debut, welcoming back veteran Sam Whitelock and recalling prop Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Whitelock returns after missing New Zealand’s Auckland Test win with a concussion, the same injury that kept Joe Moody out of Saturday’s game, paving the way for Tu’inukuafe.
Sotutu, used from the bench in the opening two Test series, comes on to replace Ardie Savea, who is on leave as a father.
“He’s already got a lot of minutes in the Bledisloe Cup series and he’s ready to go,” said Foster.
“He’s excited. This is an opportunity to start his first test, so it’s very special for him.”
Foster maintained an experimental back line that sealed the All Blacks’ 27-7 victory in Auckland, with Beauden Barrett being preferred over brothers Jordie at full-back and Richie Mo’unga on the fly-half.
Jordie Barrett started on the right flank with Caleb Clarke, who made a sensational debut in Auckland, looking to return the rampage down the left sideline.
On the bench, Tyrel Lomax replaced Nepo Laulala, who is also on leave as a father, while freelance striker Dalton Papalii and center Ngani Laumape made their first squad appearance of the year.
Rieko Ioane’s return utility replaces Damian McKenzie.
Although the All Blacks have held the Bledisloe since 2003, they have not finished the series in Australia since 2009 and Foster said it was an exciting prospect for his players.
“None of our players, not even experienced ones, have to win trophies in Australia,” he said.
“In the past, the decisive game was always in New Zealand, so I think it’s a big challenge for us.”
New Zealand (15-1)
Beauden Barrett; Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke; Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (captain), Shannon Frizell; Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu; Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles, Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Substitutes: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papalii, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane.
Dane Haylett-Petty; Philip Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Marika Koroibete; Noah Lolesio, Nic White; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (captain), Ned Hanigan; Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto; Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper.
Substitutes: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami.
ns-mp / arb / th
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]