Whereas the Boks have made wholesale changes due to both injuries and some poor player form, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named an unchanged starting XV for the first time in his international coaching career, ahead of Saturday’s Test against South Africa in Sydney.
The Rugby Championship clash will be the first international event held at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue in front of a sold out 42,500 spectators.
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James Slipper will captain the side at loosehead prop, playing his 121st Test which equals that of Michael Hooper and former teammate Adam Ashley-Cooper. He’s joined in the front row by long-time Brumbies teammates Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaalatoa.
The second-row combination of Rory Arnold and Matt Philip will again start for the Wallabies as the team looks to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this year after defeating South Africa 25-17 last Saturday in Adelaide.
Waratahs Player of the Year Jed Holloway will get to wear Wallaby gold for the first time in his home state, lining up at blindside flanker. Dual try scorer Fraser McReight again starts on the openside with Rob Valetini going strength to strength as the No. 8.
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An impressive performance from 22-year-old Noah Lolesio in Adelaide has assured him another start at flyhalf, where he will partner 53-Test halfback Nic White. The ever-improving midfield pairing of Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau will also get another chance to work on their combination.
Reece Hodge had a near flawless game at fullback last weekend and is named again to fill the number 15 jersey with Tom Wright and last week’s man of the match Marika Koroibete on the edges.
The bench remains a 6-2 split for the second consecutive week.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s great to be able to have some consistency in selection with the team that played last week earning the right to wear the jersey again in Sydney.”
“While rapt with last week’s effort, we’re well aware of the challenge a wounded Springbok poses and the intensity we will require again on Saturday night.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to play in front of a sold out crowd in the first International event at the new Allianz Stadium.”
Australia – 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 David Porecki, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Kwagga Smith, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Warrick Gelant.