McCalman the Wallaby bolter

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 06:20
Large ben mccalman wallabies training 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Coach Michael Cheika welcomed back 315 Tests of experience for Australia's Bledisloe Cup and 2016 Rugby Championship opener.

The overseas trio of Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Will Genia return against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday.

Cheika also made a key change in the forwards, choosing Ben McCalman at blindside flank instead of Scott Fardy for Saturday's Test which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup match.

France-based trio Ashley-Cooper, Giteau and Genia along with lock Kane Douglas return after missing the home series clean sweep loss against England in June.

McCalman joins Michael Hooper and David Pocock in a new-look back row with Fardy named among the reserves, while old combinations will be reunited in the backline with Genia and Bernard Foley forming the halves alongside Giteau and Tevita Kuridrani in the centres.

Brumbies prop Allan Ala'alatoa is in line to make his debut after being on the bench alongside veterans Tatafu Polota-Nau and James Slipper.

Western Force outside back Dane Haylett-Petty retained his place on the wing after playing in the England series, with vice-captain Rob Horne relegated to the replacements.

Captain and hooker Stephen Moore will line up for his 106th Test appearance at the Sydney Olympic stadium, while wing Ashley-Cooper is set to play his 115th international.

The Wallabies are the defending Rugby Championship title holders, but have won just one of their last 13 encounters against the world champions.

Australia have not held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, with the All Blacks keeping the trophy 13 times since then.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Ala'alatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Rob Horne.

Date: Saturday, August 20
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 20.05 (22.05 NZST, 10.05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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