71-Test Wallaby Bernard Foley has been selected for his first Test since 2019, named at flyhalf for Thursday night’s first Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Melbourne, after Noah Lolesio was ruled out of the match.
He’s one of eight changes to the run-on side made by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, with Foley to partner NSW Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon in the halves, who starts in the number nine jersey for the first time this year.
James Slipper will lead the side out in his 122nd Test, which takes him to outright third on the list of most-capped Wallabies behind George Gregan (139) and Stephen Moore (129). He’ll combine with hooker David Porecki, who returns to the starting side, and Allan Alaalatoa who is named at tighthead prop.
The versatility of Jed Holloway allows him to start at lock for the first time in his Test career, partnering Rebels vice-captain Matt Philip in the second row.
An all Melbourne-born backrow sees Rob Leota return as the starting blindside flanker, Pete Samu earn his first start of the 2022 campaign at openside and Rob Valetini in the familiar number eight jersey.
The fleet footed Lalakai Foketi gets another opportunity to partner Len Ikitau in the midfield, at inside and outside centre respectively, with Hunter Paisami also unavailable for selection.
Superstar winger Marika Koroibete will bring up his 50th appearance for Australia at Marvel Stadium, named on the right wing, with Tom Wright to line up on the left edge.
Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway returns to fullback for the clash at Marvel Stadium to round out the starting XV.
Force-bound Folau Fainga’a is the replacement hooker, named alongside loosehead prop Scott Sio and Melbourne local Pone Fa’amausili as the finishing front row.
Darcy Swain and Fraser McReight have also been named on the pine to cover the lock and backrow respectively.
Brumbies number nine Nic White will bring energy and experience as the replacement scrumhalf, while Reece Hodge’s versatility will again be called upon throughout the Test. Melbourne-born Jordan Petaia completes the gameday 23.
Thursday night’s Test will be the first time the Wallabies and New Zealand have met in Melbourne since 2010.
The team currently sits second on the eToro Rugby Championship ladder with two rounds remaining.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s great to have Bernard’s experience and he brings plenty of voice and passion for the gold jersey.”
“New Zealand showed their class in a massive win over Argentina last week and will come to Melbourne full of confidence.
“We’re well aware of the opportunity in front of us over the next fortnight and we’re extremely motivated to make the most of it.”
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Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne on Thursday 15 September, 7:45pm AEST
- James Slipper (c) (121 Tests)
- David Porecki (5 Tests)
- Allan Alaalatoa (58 Tests)
- Jed Holloway (4 Tests)
- Matt Philip (26 Tests)
- Rob Leota (12 Tests)
- Pete Samu (26 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (25 Tests)
- Jake Gordon (14 Tests)
- Bernard Foley (71 Tests)
- Marika Koroibete (49 Tests)
- Lalakai Foketi (2 Tests)
- Len Ikitau (19 Tests)
- Tom Wright (16 Tests)
- Andrew Kellaway (16 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (31 Tests)
- Scott Sio (73 Tests)
- Pone Fa’amausili (1 Test)
- Darcy Swain (15 Tests)
- Fraser McReight (6 Tests)
- Nic White (54 Tests)
- Reece Hodge (59 Tests)
- Jordan Petaia (20 Tests)
2022 eToro Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Fixtures
Wallabies 41 defeated Argentina 26, Sunday 7 August at Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza
Wallabies 17 defeated by Argentina 48, Sunday 13 August at Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan
Wallabies 25 defeated South Africa 17, Saturday 27 August at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Wallabies 8 defeated by South Africa 24, Saturday 3 September at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Wallabies v New Zealand, Thursday 15 September, 7:45pm AEST at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Wallabies v New Zealand, Saturday 24 September, 5:05pm AEST at Eden Park, Auckland