Wallabies v. Wales : Team Announcement - Green and Gold Rugby
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Wallabies v. Wales : Team Announcement

Wallabies v. Wales : Team Announcement

The Wallabies will be out for their tenth win in a row against Wales when they face off at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in the early hours of Sunday morning,

After sneaking home against the Barbarians last week, coach Michael Cheika has made several changes to the starting side with the news that Sean McMahon’s huge season in 2014 continues after being named to start at 6 with injury ruling out Scott Higginbotham.

Returning to the starting side in the forward pack are props James Slipper and Sekope Kepu, lock Rob Simmons and Michael Hooper who takes back the captaincy from Matt Hodgson, who returns to the bench.

The halves pairing of Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley are reunited with Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano and Adam Ashley-Cooper also returning to the starting 15.

Cheika has once again named and an extended bench of eight with Western Force prop Tetera Faulkner named amongst the reserves with a chance to make his first appearance in the gold jersey. Also named on the bench are forwards James Hanson, Ben Alexander, James Horwill and Will Skelton.

There are three backs reserves named with Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Rob Horne all dropping back after starting against the Barbarians last week.


1. James Slipper
2. Saia Fainga’a
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Sam Carter
5. Rob Simmons
6. Sean McMahon
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Ben McCalman
9. Nick Phipps
10. Bernard Foley
11. Joe Tomane
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Israel Folau

Reserves:
16. James Hanson
17. Tetera Faulkner
18. Ben Alexander
19. James Horwill
20. Will Skelton
21. Matt Hodgson
22. Will Genia
23. Quade Cooper
24. Rob Horne

* one to be omitted

  • Pedro

    Boo, no Speight.

    • Seb V

      He will get his chance next game…. Well he better or their will be hell to pay!

    • JK

      Totally agree, what a let-down.. We finally get a genuine game-breaking winger fit and ready to play, forget bledisloe 3, Tomane and AAC did sweet FA in that, just get Speight out there!

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      I think this is testament to Cheika’s honesty. He did promise that the starting XV from the last Bledisloe would be given their shot vs Wales. Can’t understand why Speight isn’t on the bench, but guess Horne can cover more positions??

      • Pedro

        Speight’s returning from a hammy injury perhaps they’re just being cautious.

      • Sape

        Cant understand how Tomane gets a start over Horne? What does poor Rob have to do to get recognition?

        • jamie

          Run fast

      • Jimmydubs

        With aac and like in the starting side you have 10-15 so doesn’t matter who you’re #23 is

    • ted

      Sack the coach!

      • Geoffwho

        Tomane, Carter, Simmons, Horwill, Genia and Cooper? Yep, if Link announced this team It would have been be pandemonium. Cheika does it and it’s all part of a cunning plan.

        • Tedh

          I didn’t realise Genia and Cooper started under Link? Oh they didn’t.

        • Geoffwho

          Uhmmmm, last EOYT?

  • Brendan Hume

    Odd no Speight and still think Faulkner and Lilo should have had a run against the baa-baas. Toomua out too, bit of a surprise.

    • Farthing

      I wonder if Cheika if Faulkner got picked to cover tight-head so Alexander could play loose?

      • Homer J

        My thought as well. Faulkner’s Force profile talks of him as a TH, but if you are bringing in Alexander as LH, he hasn’t played there for a while and a more epxerienced LH is on the tour.

    • Braveheart81

      I don’t really think it’s odd that Speight isn’t in the side. AAC and Tomane were the recent test wingers and neither played last week and Horne outplayed Speight against the Barbarians.

      Speight’s time will come. There’s no doubt he’s going to be an important part of the Wallabies team.

      • Train Without A Station

        It appears the Speight hype was a little too much

    • PiratesRugby

      Toomua being omitted is a bit of a surprise but the alternative would have been omitting CLL. That would have been difficult after his performance in Bled 3.
      McMahon at 6. Cheika obviously sees him as his Potgeiter for the Wallabies. Good on ya Sean.
      Rob Horne must be the slowest winger in international rugby. But a gym must have opened up near his house because he has been freakishly strong at S15 and Test level. Good on him.
      How bad must Ben Robinson be for him to be dropped while the Hinge keeps his place!
      Skelton will be the one omitted.

      • mm

        Toomua on the bench instead of Cooper surely.

        • Ruckin Oaf

          Yep I’m a huge Cooper fan and that’s what I was thinking.

  • Homer J

    Can some one find any video on Faulkner? He is the mystery man who comes off the bench for the Force and is now apparently part of the future of Australian propping and no has really asked any questions about him. Good luck to him, i hope he gets a run for his country.
    Also, why the f**k is Alexander on the sheet. There are 5 better props over here having a holiday who can out scrum him on one leg.
    Good to see Foley still at 10. It pains me to watch Cooper stand 20m behind the gain line. You can’t attack from there and expect your forwards to run backwards all the time to clean up behind the gain line. Foley takes it too the line at pace.

    • Gnostic
    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      I think the idea behind Faulkner is that he can play both sides of the scrum. I was quite surprised he got the nod ahead of Alo-Emile but probably because his work around the park and General fitness are ahead of PAE’s. But you are so spot on, it’s actually a farce that Alexander is still there, I cannot for the life of me understand what at all he brings to the table

  • Brick

    Ridiculous that there is no Speight. He wasn’t carving them up last week, but he is a great runner and had pretty average ball on his wing all night. Definitely dropped off after that big hit. But he is a strong talented player.

    • Braveheart81

      How is it ridiculous? Both incumbent wingers were rested last week. After the Barbarians game I thought it was more likely than not that he wouldn’t make the starting side and always hard to have a specialist winger on the bench,

      • Brick

        Okay thats a good point. I do remember Cheika saying that he would give the team that did well against the AB’s another go. Just had a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the announcement. Speight can be such an exciting ball runner.

    • Mr Duct Tape

      He played pretty well for his debut. There was very heavy attack and aggressive defense from the Barbarians on his wing and he successfully righted the ship on several occasions where lesser wingers would have been turned to minced meat. Needs a bit more experience with this team to build his confidence and defensive trust/awareness with the other players.

      Once his confidence is up he could potentially be outplaying the magnificent Kuridrani, who is probably the only world 15 class player in the side.

  • Galty

    I actually don’t mind that line up. I wish there was an answer for carter and Simmons. If probably put Horne in because he’s been having some decent runs. Front row will look a whole lot more threatening when Moore is in there come RWC Would be omitting Skelton I think.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Agree about Horney. I reckon he’s done a pretty decent job for us on the wing. With the quality coming-in, he needs to make every post a winner and finish off those 1/2 chances.

    • Anydaynow

      Give those locks some time – everyone on this website bags the life out of simmons but they need to remember that he’s only 25. Only 12-18 months ago everyone on this website was saying that slipper was useless and look at him now.

      • Philip Vilsoni

        yes but Simmons has been playing since 2011 and nothing has changed.

        • Robert Muldoon

          And yet, Chieka is the third wallaby coach to continue picking him. Obviously the experts are aware of his value.

        • Philip Vilsoni

          coz he’s the only one available that can call the lineouts.

  • Axemen

    Noooooooooo not Ben Alexander, anyone but the hinge. Is Faulkner a TH or LH? Old Benny Robinson is definitely not popular with any of the coaches. Would of loved to see some new faces over there like Toby Smith, Laurie Weekes or PAE.
    Thought both Horne and Speight were ahead of Tomane – disappointed Speight not getting a run.

    • AndrewWA

      Tetera can provide either TH or LH.
      Hope McMahon backs up his Wallaby debut with a good Test cap performance.

      Suggest Skelton may miss out as already too loose with McMahon and Hooper. Hodgson off the bench can ease the burden on McCalman.

      Hoping that Tet gets his 1st cap and Hodgson gets into double figures.

  • Axemen

    Is the roof open or shut for the game?

    • Trent

      It has been raining all week so reports are that it will be closed.

  • Oh, man

    Surely Speight and Horne are better than Tomane

    • Sir Isaac Newton

      Yes, but that’s 2 on 1..not fair by half

  • Jack

    The Hinge..??!! No not again – Not in the northern hemisphere please god no. Maybe it’s just a joke…It’s a joke right..?? He’s 24th man right..?? RIGHT..????

    • Gnostic

      I would agree, but tell me in the squad who are the other THP options? Or do you advocate throwing Faulkner to the sharks and starting him at THP for his first test?

      We can all lament the fact that Weeks, Holmes & Ryan were overlooked just as much as I think one of the biggest depth losses to Australian Rugby this year was the move OS by Longbottom. May as well wish Palmer wasn’t injured and retired.

      • Braveheart81

        This should be the weakest scrum we face in the tests. I think we’ll see Robbo back for some of the remaining tests and maybe Faulkner given a crack at THP at some point.

      • Jack

        Absolutely, he’d be coming off the bench, he has to start somewhere so how is that being thrown to the sharks..?

        • Gnostic

          He is starting off the bench. Will he come on at THP or is he injury cover only? So what is the problem? As I said in this squad I really don’t see any other options to cover THP in case of injury early in the game to Kepu.

        • Jack

          My issue is that Alexander can’t hold up a scrum so shouldn’t have been selected. Is that unclear..?? I’d have Fatcat covering Slipper and I would bring Faulkner on if Kepu gets injured, BA runs water.

        • Gnostic

          I don’t think there is an 80 minute THP in the top 10 nations. Kepu, Franks, J Du Plesis certainly get replaced around the 60 minute mark in every match. In the case of a first half injury to Kepu it would be a huge ask to have Faulkner cover THP against a top 10 nation on his first test. As much as I deplore his faults Alexander is experienced and is there to cover that eventuality and Faulkner will get his run on and apprenticeship.

          Anyway there is obviously no way that any reasonable case can be made with regard to Alexander’s selection in your books. I have tried to bring a balanced view that is all. If you think I am a long time Alexander supporter I suggest you look at my posting history and you will see I have been advocating for his replacement for a long time. Indeed I suggested that Weeks or Holmes be selected for the tour ahead of him. That didn’t happen so it was assured he would be selected at least on the bench in each test.

  • Hambone

    how good seeing McMahon getting a starting berth, alexander highly questionable, highly looking forward to this test, i love smashing the welsh around the park, always a tough and good contest… go u bludey good thing..

  • bob

    How does Joe Tomane keep making the starting team. Horne was a bull last week showing great hands for one pick up. Tomane couldn’t catch a cold.

  • Parker

    Glad to see the form of CLL rewarded with a starting spot. I think he’s been showing more incisiveness in attack than Toomua. Disapppointed that Speight isn’t on the bench and bewildered by the inclusion of Bend Alexander. Tomane is going to have to have a blinder to justify selection. Still think we’re looking pretty good. Carn the Wallabies.

  • Can’t agree. I think Wales is probably the most important test for the wallies. McMahon needed to be bench, hodgson needed to run on. Horwill every day v Carter at the moment. How is the lineout going to go? Toomuas defence will be missed v north in the centres. Why do you think they picked him there. Our midfield has been soft too long. Aac needs to be a bench player now Speight, tomane and Horne are fit and ready. Not sure about QC off the bench. He is a starter only. Would have much preferred to see a utility.

    • Guest

      Lilo didn’t miss a tackle against the ABs

    • Trent

      Hopefully Hodgson gets some good time off the bench. Having 2 very young backrowers against the experience of the Welsh backrow will be very interesting to watch. I hope the balance is right with Hooper and McMahon both loving to run. Time will tell and very happy for these concerns to amount to nothing. I wonder if Cooper will make the final cut? It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the one dropped as I also don’t see him as an easy bench injection. His style requires a change in play by many players. Tough to do late in a game.

      • Couldn’t agree more. I’m a big QC fan but if he’s not starting, he shouldn’t be there. I fear our set piece will struggle.

      • Geoffwho

        Cooper has played10 and 12 in tests. I also think for Cheika it may be more about investing some time now in Genia and Cooper getting them match fit and used to a new game plan (and coaches expectations). Skelton is probably most likely to be left out if Cheika’s praise for Horwill last weekend is any indication.

    • Braveheart81

      McMahon had great impact last week. I think he deserves the start with Higgers injured.

      North was selected in the centres because Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams are both injured.

      Speight will get a starting berth in time but he didn’t earn it last week.

      • And Tomane has earned it more? I am sure Wales have more than 2 centres.

  • Gnostic

    I am not surprised at the omission of Robinson or Speight. I see the selection of Tomane as basically incumbency and the very good team performance against the ABs. Horne unlucky to miss out but does so because there is no pace in the back three.

    IMO lucky selections are Genia and Cooper, though perhaps it does flag that Chieka doesn’t see either Lilo or Toomua as reserve 10s and Horne allows 12 coverage as well as wing. Genia IMO the most contentious selection as to my mind he was totally out performed by White not only in the last start but for some time.

    It will be interesting to see who is omitted from the reserves and I think it is only one of Horwill or Skelton, and in all honesty I wouldn’t be surprised to see it being Horwill left out as Skelton offers something different to the other lock options and Horwill has had one above average game since his return.

    • RugbyStu

      Utter bull, Horwill has been in much greater form than Skelton and Carter wtf.

    • bad ass

      Agree with white out performing genia in the last game only.

  • RugbyStu

    Tomane over Speight is nuts.I thought Chieka was raving about Horwill? And Alexander…. Isn’t Pek Cowan in the team? What the Chieks? This is exactly the team Ewen would have played I thought Chieks was going to do make some changes.

    • Braveheart81

      AAC and Tomane were both rested last week and Cheika said he was going to give the guys who played Bled 3 first crack. I don’t think Tomane was ever going to be dropped without getting an opportunity.

      • RugbyStu

        Not a fan of this approach. Such conservatism, Chieka has to make his mark can’t just copy Mckenzie 100% pick on form.

        • Braveheart81

          You’re asking him to pick on form and then saying he should have picked Speight who spent a long while out injured, was average in his return in the NRC and was then outplayed last week by Horne.

          Basically what you’re saying is that you want Cheika to make his mark by selecting the players you like.

  • Avid

    Well the Tahs play in tight for more forwards play, ie shorter passes from Phipps + line attack by Foley, and Genia/Cooper play wider ball (currently too deep) for a faster backs oriented second half. Interesting to see how these 2 pairs go split up.

  • Patrick

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that this is a pretty sensible team, perhaps Alexander the most questionable.

    Also, I will go out on another limb and say that for as much as Kuridrani will test North’s positioning North will test Kuridrani’s defense too!

  • DReido

    I was more excited about last week’s team

  • Who?

    Interesting team… Everyone said Link was biased and wrong not to pick Fat Cat, yet his first Test team has a rookie selected over Fat Cat to possibly face up to one of the best TH’s in the world (Jones) and a man starting to usurp him (a man named Samson, of all things! What a great name for a prop!).
    Very concerned about our lineout. Simmons and Carter can win ball, but you can’t go into a Test against 3.5 genuine jumpers (Wales) with only 2.5 jumpers, and a couple of part timers. Need more height. It’s a concern, given the Tahs didn’t exactly have a secure lineout, either… Not saying McMahon hasn’t earned his spot, more questioning the balance. But we are thin for options. It makes the thought of subbing off Simmons for Skelton just look terrifying… We’d be conceding every lineout – their throw and ours.
    Also a bit surprised at Tomane retaining his spot in the 23, let alone the 15. Thought Horne might’ve been pushed up, and Speight onto the bench if not starting.

    • Braveheart81

      Jones is out. I think the Welsh scrum will be the weakest of the four we face in the tests. I don’t think the new rules have worked well for them.

      I definitely think we’ll see Robinson in some of the later tests.

      After playing the last three or so tests and being rested last week it was always unlikely that Tomane was going to miss out.

      • Who?

        Didn’t know Jones was out (went for a look, didn’t see it…). But I’d have thought Ireland would’ve been weaker there than Wales? Regardless, still not what I expected, nor do I think many others would’ve picked Faulkner to get a run ahead of Fat Cat this week. Fat Cat’s not near as big a liability as The Hinge…
        You’re probably right about Tomane… Still, goes against much of the sentiment I’ve seen online.

      • When you say ‘Jones is out’, are you referring to Australia or Wales?

    • Trent

      I’m with you regarding the balance with McMahon and Hooper in the backrow. But let’s give it a go and see. They could surprise us and balance their running game with other facets well. Here is hoping.

  • subfreq

    Some bench.

  • Avid

    So Faulkner is the reserve hooker right?

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@steve_l15

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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