Australia has made seven changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship and Puma Trophy clash against Argentina at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza. In one of three changes in the forwards, Reds veteran Greg Holmes will start for the green and gold for the first time since 2007 against Canada, while Western Force stalwart Ben McCalman returns for his first appearance of the 2015 international season at eighthman. The final change in the pack sees David Pocock come in to the starting line up at openside flanker with Michael Hooper named on the reserves bench.
In the backs, Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps and Brumbies centre Matt Toomua replace the injured Will Genia and Matt Giteau, while Joe Tomane replaces the injured Rob Horne on the wing. Waratahs pivot Bernard Foley comes into the starting line up for Quade Cooper, as Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika gives key players the chance to press their claims for starting honours for the Bledisloe Cup.
Cheika says: ‘We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad to be able to cover for the injuries we sustained last Saturday night against the Springboks. They all deserve their start against Los Pumas and they now have an opportunity to build on the performance last week and stake their claims. We have two fine playmakers in Quade and Bernard. Both players can make an enormous impact on our team.’ This weekend’s Test will also be an important milestone for 2011 John Eales Medalist, Kurtley Beale.
The 26-year-old is set to earn his 50th Test cap for the Wallabies off the bench, after recovering from a quad strain that kept the Waratahs playmaker out of the Super Rugby finals series. Dean Mumm’s decision to return home has paid dividends, as he set to rejoin the international arena. The 31 year-old is one of three additions to the reserves bench from last week’s four-point win over the Springboks, which includes Beale and Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White.
Cheika says: ‘We know Argentina will provide a physical challenge in this match, and our reserves will have a significant role to play. Last week they (the bench) got us home against the Springboks, and I will be looking forward to an even a greater impact from our players entering game this weekend.’ A Wallabies victory would see them retain the Puma Trophy, which has been in Australia’s keeping since it was first awarded in 2000.
1. James Slipper – (Reds – 64 Tests)
2. Stephen Moore, C – (Brumbies – 93 Tests)
3. Greg Holmes (Reds – 14 Tests)
4. Will Skelton (Waratahs – 9 Tests)
5. Rob Simmons (Reds – 51 Tests)
6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies – 20 Tests)
7. David Pocock (Brumbies – 47 Tests)
8. Ben McCalman (Force – 38 Tests)
9. Nick Phipps (Waratahs – 29 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (Waratahs – 18 Tests)
11. Joe Tomane (Brumbies – 14 Caps)
12. Matt Toomua (Brumbies 22 Tests)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies – 21 Tests)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, VC – (Waratahs – 105 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (Waratahs – 30 Tests)
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs – 50 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (Brumbies – 6 Tests)
18. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs – 53 Tests)
19. Dean Mumm (Waratahs – 33 Tests)
20. Michael Hooper, VC – (Waratahs – 42 Tests)
21. Nic White (Brumbies – 19 Tests)
22. Quade Cooper (Reds – 54 Tests)
23. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs- 49 Caps)