Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled Marika Koroibete, Matt Toomua, Matt Philip and Lachlan Swinton for Saturday’s must-win Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Auckland.
Koroibete returns to the wing after being dropped last week for disciplinary reasons after a late-night drinking session with teammates Isi Naisarani and Pone Fa’amausili. The 2019 John Eales medallist replaces Jordan Petaia, with Toomua adding experience to the midfield at the expense of Len Ikitau, who has been relegated to the bench.
Philip will partner Darcy Swain in their first Test start together in the second row, while Swinton’s inclusion at openside flanker has forced a reshuffle of the loose forwards with Rob Valetini moving to No 8. Michael Hooper will skipper the side for the 57th time at openside flanker.
The front row remains the same for the third consecutive week, James Slipper the starting loosehead prop alongside hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa with the reliable Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.
The young halves pairing of Tate McDermott and Noah Lolesio get another chance to build on their combination, with Hunter Paisami moving to outside centre to partner No 12 Toomua.
After an impressive Bledisloe Cup debut in last Saturday’s 33-25 series-opening defeat, Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway earns his second start for the Wallabies, in the back three with Koroibete and fullback Tom Banks.
Queensland Reds duo Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Harry Wilson will cover the second and back row from the bench, while Nic White is set for his first appearance for the Wallabies in 2021 after recovering from a knee injury to be the replacement halfback. The versatile Reece Hodge will again be among the bench options.
“Eden Park is a place that most teams fear but we’re excited to get another crack after last weekend’s disappointment,” Rennie said. “To beat New Zealand, you have to win the collisions and be clinical for 80 minutes and we didn’t do that. We’ve got a lot more in us and we’ll show that on Saturday night.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Ian Foster has rejigged his backline to bring Will Jordan in on the right wing in the only personnel change to his starting line-up.
The return of the prolific try-scorer, who sat out last week’s game because of a hamstring strain, means a switch to the left wing for Sevu Reece and a return to the centres for Rieko Ioane.
Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown drops out of the matchday squad with TJ Perenara coming in as back-up scrumhalf in place of Brad Weber in the only change to the replacement backs.
The starting forward pack is unchanged from last week’s match, and hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho retains his spot on the bench after being called in last week as a late replacement for Dane Coles, who had a calf problem.
Lock Scott Barrett was another late withdrawal last week due to illness, but he was named on a bench also featuring his brothers Beauden and Jordie, who will provide backline cover.
“We’re all excited to be returning to Eden Park for the second Bledisloe Cup Test,” All Blacks coach Foster said. “We know that Australia will be disappointed with [last week’s] result and will lift. It’s a do or die game for them.”
The match doubles as the start of the 2021 Rugby Championship.
Australia: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (captain), Lachlan Swinton, Matt Phillip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper. Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Wilson, Nic White, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge.
New Zealand: Damien McKenzie, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (captain), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett.