The Wallabies have announced the team to take on the All Blacks at Eden Park this Saturday, with the return of Quade Cooper the big change.
In the latest news, hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been ruled out of the 22 with a corked backside suffered in training. Stephen Moore takes his place and in doing so will be the most capped hooker in Wallabies history with 72 caps, surpassing Jeremy Paul.
Wallabies coaching staff were hopeful that Polota-Nau’s injury could improve after the Captain’s run and could be named amongst the reserves, but t hat wasn’t the case.
It has been 26 years since the Wallabies beat the All Blacks at Eden Park, but as was pointed out during the week by Mr Timms, the Wallabies are on a one-game winning streak there by virtue of beating Wales in the third-place play-off at the World Cup last year.
Can that streak be added to? If that is to happen then the Wallabies must be on their game and limit the errors that cost them so dearly in the first Test in Sydney. The big loser from that match is Kurtley Beale who has been dropped from the starting XV. Anthony Faingaa also finds himself out of the starting side.
Much has been said in the wash-up from the first match about who should stay or go and the various changes that should be made. There are at least two changes forced through injury, to forwards David Pocock and Sekope Kepu. Michael Hooper replaces Pocock whilst Ben Alexander comes in for Kepu at tighthead. In Pocock’s absence, Will Genia will take over the captaincy duties.
The big question for me is how Quade Cooper plays in the hostile environment of Eden Park where he was enemy number one during the World Cup. No doubt there will plenty of advice coming from the home fans and if he can somehow block that out, Australia might be a chance.
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Drew Mitchell
13. Rob Horne
12. Berrick Barnes
11. Digby Ioane
10. Quade Cooper
9. Will Genia (c)
8. Scott Higginbotham
7. Michael Hooper
6. Dave Dennis
5. Nathan Sharpe
4. Sitaleki Timani
3. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
1. Benn Robinson
The game will kick off at 5:35pm (AEST) on Saturday afternoon.The game will be controlled by Welshman Nigel Owens with Alain Rolland and Lourens van der Merwe assisting.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have also named their team for the clash.
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Ma’a Nonu, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 6. Liam Messam, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Keven Mealamu, 1. Wyatt Crockett. Res: 16. Andrew Hore, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Brodie Retallick, 19. Victor Vito, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Aaron Cruden, 22. Ben Smith.