FOUR DEBUTANTS NAMED FOR WALLABIES TRC OPENER AGAINST SPRINGBOKS

Jul 6 • Australia, General News, International, National, Rugby Championship News, The Rugby Championship • 5038 Views • Comments Off on FOUR DEBUTANTS NAMED FOR WALLABIES TRC OPENER AGAINST SPRINGBOKS

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Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has named four debutants as the side looks to create history with their first ever win against South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday.

22-year-old Tom Hooper has been selected at blindside flanker for his first appearance in Wallaby gold, joining co-captain Michael Hooper and Rob Valetini in the backrow, the latter playing his first ever Test in South Africa.

The youngest player in the squad at 21, Zane Nonggorr has been named as the replacement tighthead prop with Taniela Tupou requiring more minutes at training before making his return to the playing arena.

French Top 14 champion, Richie Arnold is another in line for his first Test cap at Loftus Versfeld Stadium as the finishing lock, while Melbourne Rebels playmaker Carter Gordon is the final potential debutant, remarkably sharing the exact same birthday as Tom Hooper.

An experienced front row sees co-captain James Slipper line up for his 128th appearance in Wallaby gold alongside Waratahs hooker David Porecki and Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

The second-row pairing of Nick Frost and Will Skelton both start in their first Tests in South Africa, the side having last visited the Rainbow Nation in 2019.

Nic White will start at scrumhalf, reigniting his halves pairing with Quade Cooper who has fully recovered from a ruptured Achilles. Cooper lining up in South Africa for the first time since 2013.

Reece Hodge will start at inside centre, combining in the midfield with Len Ikitau who will wear the number 13 jersey for the 12th consecutive Test.

Reds flyer Suliasi Vunivalu has earned his first start for Australia on the right wing, with 2022 John Eales Medallist Marika Koroibete on the left edge. Tom Wright rounds out the run-on side at fullback.

Melbourne duo Jordan Uelese and Matt Gibbon join Nonggorr as the finishing front row, with Pete Samu set to cover the backrow.

Queensland captain Tate McDermott will provide energy as the replacement scrumhalf, with Samu Kerevi set to feature for the Wallabies for the first time since last year’s England Series on home soil.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “As a squad, the players have worked extremely hard since coming together as a group and we’ve prepared well this week.”

“The 23 players selected have an opportunity to be part of history with a win over South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday night.”

Every Wallabies Test of the eToro Rugby Championship will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport and the Nine Network.

Wallabies team to play South Africa at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on Saturday 8 July, 5:05pm GMT/1:05am AEST (Sunday)

  1. James Slipper (c) (127 Tests)
  2. David Porecki (10 Tests)
  3. Allan Alaalatoa (64 Tests)
  4. Nick Frost (9 Tests)
  5. Will Skelton (24 Tests)
  6. Tom Hooper*
  7. Michael Hooper (c) (124 Tests)
  8. Rob Valetini (30 Tests)
  9. Nic White (59 Tests)
  10. Quade Cooper (76 Tests)
  11. Marika Koroibete (51 Tests)
  12. Reece Hodge (62 Tests)
  13. Len Ikitau (26 Tests)
  14. Suliasi Vunivalu (1 Test)
  15. Tom Wright (23 Tests)
    Finishers
  16. Jordan Uelese (15 Tests)
  17. Matt Gibbon (5 Tests)
  18. Zane Nonggorr*
  19. Richie Arnold*
  20. Pete Samu (32 Tests)
  21. Tate McDermott (21 Tests)
  22. Samu Kerevi (41 Tests)
  23. Carter Gordon*
    *denotes uncapped

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