Brumbies backrower Pete Samu has forced his way in to the Wallabies starting side for the first time in 2021, named at blindside flanker in the side’s final eToro Rugby Championship clash against Argentina on the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, evergreen prop Greg Holmes has been selected to make his return to the International arena for the first time since 2016 via the pine, alongside reserve loose forward Sean McMahon, who will suit up in the Wallaby gold for the first time since 2017. At 38-years-old, Holmes will become the oldest Wallaby to play a Test since World War II after representing the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and 2015.
There are two other changes to the starting side, with young gun Jordan Petaia named to start on the right edge with Marika Koroibete having returned to Melbourne to spend time with his newborn and young family after an extended period on the road. Darcy Swain rotates into the starting second row with Matt Philip shifting to the bench.
Dave Rennie has named an unchanged front row for the third consecutive week with tighthead Taniela Tupou and hooker Folau Fainga’a joining Gold Coast junior James Slipper, who is in line for his 110th Wallabies appearance, equaling former Wallabies teammates Sekope Kepu and Will Genia.
Swain will partner Izack Rodda in the second row, with the latter set for his fourth consecutive start in the gold jersey.
The side will also be chasing four wins in a row for the first time in the eToro Rugby Championship when openside flanker Michael Hooper leads them out at Cbus Super Stadium. He’s joined in the backrow by Samu and Rob Valetini who is enjoying his most consistent Test season this year.
Nic White will again partner Quade Cooper in the halves, with an unchanged midfield comprising the in-form Samu Kerevi and Len Ikitau who continue to build a solid centre combination.
Rebels star, and last week’s first try-scorer, Reece Hodge will again wear the number 15 jersey, with Andrew Kellaway moving to the left wing for the first time in his International career, with Petaia on the right edge.
Holmes will join Angus Bell and Lachlan Lonergan as the reserve front rowers, the latter making his first appearance since the final Bledisloe Cup match in Perth. Philip and McMahon are the remaining forward replacements.
Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon also returns to the matchday 23 as the reserve scrumhalf, with James O’Connor lining up for his second Test after a successful return from injury in the 27-8 win over Los Pumas in Townsville. Tom Wright has been named for his first Test since the victorious France Series as the reserve outside back.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Pete’s been outstanding for us coming on as a replacement in the past few Tests and has earned his opportunity to show what he’s capable of from the kick off this weekend.”
“Both Greg and Sean have worked extremely hard on the field and around their detail off the field and they’re both super excited to represent their country again on Saturday evening.
“We’ve felt really well supported during all of our Tests in Australia this year and we’re looking to finishing the Rugby Championship with a performance the team and the country can be proud of.”
Every Wallabies Test will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport. Every home Wallabies Test will also be live, free-to-air on the Nine Network.
Update on Level Two crowd protocols
The venue capacity for Cbus Super Stadium has been reduced to 75% for Saturday night, in line with Queensland Health Level Two protocols announced this morning.
With a revised capacity of 20,767, Rugby Australia and Ticketek are working to reduce capacity accordingly on a ‘first-in’ basis from when tickets were purchased.
Those ticket holders affected will receive communication via email in the next 24 hours with their tickets to be automatically refunded.
Wallabies team to play Argentina at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast on Saturday 2 October, 5:05pm AEST
- James Slipper (109 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (20 Tests)
- Taniela Tupou (34 Tests)
- Izack Rodda (29 Tests)
- Darcy Swain (8 Tests)
- Pete Samu (14 Tests)
- Michael Hooper (c) (114 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (13 Tests)
- Nic White (42 Tests)
- Quade Cooper (73 Tests)
- Andrew Kellaway (8 Tests)
- Samu Kerevi (37 Tests)
- Len Ikitau (8 Tests)
- Jordan Petaia (13 Tests)
- Reece Hodge (52 Tests)
- Lachlan Lonergan (3 Tests)
- Angus Bell (11 Tests)
- Greg Holmes (27 Tests)
- Matt Philip (18 Tests)
- Sean McMahon (26 Tests)
- Jake Gordon (9 Tests)
- James O’Connor (56 Tests)
- Tom Wright (5 Tests)