Hodge at No.10 for Wallabies

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 05:50
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been forced to reshuffle his backline ahead of Saturday afternoon's clash with Japan in Yokohama.

Bernard Foley (illness), Karmichael Hunt (neck) and Will Genia (calf) have all been sidelined for the historic clash against the Cherry Blossoms, in what is Australia's first clash against Japan on Japanese soil.

Hunt injured his neck in the Wallabies final training session on home soil on Tuesday, and the injury was aggravated further on the nine-hour red-eye flight to Tokyo on Tuesday.

Genia suffered a minor calf injury in the Wallabies win over New Zealand in Brisbane and is set resume full training next week ahead of the clash against Wales in Cardiff. 

Nick Phipps and Reece Hodge will start at scrumhalf and flyhalf while Kurtley Beale has shifted to fullback with Samu Kerevi to join Tevita Kuridrani in a powerhouse centre combination.

Phipps and Beale will also act as deputies for Michael Hooper in the absence of Genia and Foley.

Meanwhile, lock Matt Philip is set to make his debut after being named on the bench, and in doing so will become Wallaby 915 and the Wallabies 25th debutant since the 2015 World Cup Final.

Saturday afternoon’s clash will also mark a special milestone for loose forward Ben McCalman, who is set to earn his 50th cap more than a year since he last ran out in a Wallabies jersey.

Joe Powell and Curtis Rona round out the six-two split on the bench, as both aim to add to their two Test caps.

Wallabies: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Nic Phipps, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Joe Powell, 23 Curtis Rona.

Date: Saturday, November 4
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama
Kick-off: 14.40 (16.40 AEDT; 05.40 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Tim Baker (Hong Kong)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)