Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled towering lock Cadeyrn Neville and hard-carrying number eight Harry Wilson for the side’s final eToro Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand this Saturday in Auckland.
Neville has fully recovered from a knee injury picked up in the England Series to take his place in the starting second row alongside Jed Holloway, who has made an impressive start to his Test career since debuting in Argentina last month.
Wilson’s return as the anchor of the scrum sees Rob Valetini shift from the number eight jersey to blindside flanker, a position he regularly fills for the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby, with Pete Samu earning another start at openside flanker after a standout performance in Melbourne last Thursday night.
An unchanged front row will see James Slipper lead the side out at Eden Park for the first time, with David Porecki the starting hooker alongside workhorse tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa.
NSW skipper Jake Gordon will again start at scrumhalf, partnering Bernard Foley in the halves, who made a seamless return to the Test arena in the side’s heartbreaking two-point loss at Marvel Stadium in Bledisloe One.
The back three also remains consistent, with last week’s dual try-scorer Andrew Kellaway selected at fullback with Tom Wright and Marika Koroibete on the wings.
21-year-old Angus Bell will make his first appearance of the 2022 eToro Rugby Championship via the pine as the reserve loosehead after overcoming a toe injury he suffered in July. He’ll join hooker Folau Fainga’a and Pone Fa’amausili in the replacement front row. Fainga’a returning to the place of his International debut back in 2018.
The athletic Nick Frost has also been recalled as the finishing lock, with Fraser McReight set to inject energy later in the game in the backrow.
The experience and leadership of Nic White will be called upon as the replacement scrumhalf, while the versatility of Reece Hodge sees him named on the pine for what will be his 60th Test for Australia. 22-year-old Jordan Petaia rounds out the matchday 23.
The side currently sits third on the eToro Rugby Championship ladder and will be looking to be the first Wallabies team to win in Auckland since 1986.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s great to have Cadeyrn available and Harry’s been working really hard to earn another opportunity in the gold jersey, so we’re excited for both of them.”
“The side parked the disappointment of the last Test early in the week and we have plenty to play for in Auckland on Saturday night.
“New Zealand supporters have an expectation that the All Blacks win at Eden Park and we’re excited to get another crack at them at their spiritual home.”
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Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday 24 September, 7:05pm NZST/5:05pm AEST
- James Slipper (c) (122 Tests)
- David Porecki (6 Tests)
- Allan Alaalatoa (59 Tests)
- Jed Holloway (5 Tests)
- Cadeyrn Neville (2 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (26 Tests)
- Pete Samu (27 Tests)
- Harry Wilson (11 Tests)
- Jake Gordon (15 Tests)
- Bernard Foley (72 Tests)
- Marika Koroibete (50 Tests)
- Lalakai Foketi (3 Tests)
- Len Ikitau (20 Tests)
- Tom Wright (17 Tests)
- Andrew Kellaway (17 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (32 Tests)
- Angus Bell (19 Tests)
- Pone Fa’amausili (2 Tests)
- Nick Frost (4 Tests)
- Fraser McReight (7 Tests)
- Nic White (55 Tests)
- Reece Hodge (59 Tests)
- Jordan Petaia (21 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 37 defeated by New Zealand 39, Thursday 15 September at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Wallabies v New Zealand, Saturday 24 September, 5:05pm AEST at Eden Park, Auckland