Moore back as Cheika swings Wallabies axe

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:11

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Stephen Moore returned to captain the Wallabies as coach Michael Cheika axed six players Thursday for this weekend's Test with Italy in Brisbane.

Moore will start as the first-choice hooker in place of Tatafu Polota-Nau in a team shake-up following last Saturday's much-criticised 19-24 loss to Scotland in Sydney.

Cheika made three other changes in the forward pack, with Brumbies pair, prop Scott Sio and lock Rory Arnold, joined by Lopeti Timani at No.8 in place of rookie prop Tom Robertson, lock Sam Carter and No.8 Scott Higginbotham.

Moore will make his 120th Test appearance on Saturday, surpassing Italian Martin Castrogiovanni and Englishman Jason Leonard to become the 10th most-capped international player.

Melbourne Rebels flyer Sefa Naivalu gets the chance to add to his six Tests, while Rob Horne returns for Tevita Kuridrani to partner Karmichael Hunt in the centres.

Horne's last Australia appearance was 12 months ago in the final Test against England in Sydney.

The Wallabies are yet to lose to Italy in their 16 encounters, winning 23-20 in their last clash in Brisbane in 1994.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: TBC

Date: Saturday, June 24
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 15.00 (07.00 Italy time; 05.00 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Agence France-Presse