Wallabies lock Rob Simmons will play his milestone 50th Test for Australia in Saturday’s Cook Cup clash against England at Twickenham. The 25-year-old becomes the sixth Australian forward to reach the 50-game milestone in 2014, joining props James Slipper and Sekope Kepu, hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, lock James Horwill and eighthman Wycliff Palu. His selection comes as part of a starting line-up which includes three changes to the team which played Ireland at Aviva Stadium at the weekend.
With Tevita Kuridrani unavailable due to a low-grade ankle injury, Test veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper has been selected at outside centre, which allows Rob Horne to earn a starting position on the wing. The third change sees Sean McMahon return to the starting XV at blindside flanker. The starting line-up is otherwise unchanged with McMahon part of a back-row including captain Michael Hooper and Ben McCalman; locks Sam Carter and Rob Simmons; and a front-row of Slipper, Saia Fainga’a and Kepu.
In the backs Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley continue their playmaking partnership; Matt Toomua joins Ashley-Cooper in the centres; with a back-three consisting of Israel Folau, Horne and Henry Speight. The Wallabies bench will be finalised and announced closer to the match. The match is Australia’s final match of their five-game Spring Tour, which has also included games against the Barbarians, Wales, France and Ireland.
The Qantas Wallabies side to play England for the Cook Cup at Twickenham on Saturday 29 November is:
1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds- 62 Tests)
2. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds – 35 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs – 51 Tests)
4. Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies – 10 Tests)
5. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds – 49 Tests)
6. Sean McMahon (Melbourne Rebels – 2 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c – NSW Waratahs – 41 Tests)
8. Ben McCalman (Western Force – 37 Tests)
9. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs – 27 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs – 17 Tests)
11. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs – 24 Tests)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies – 20 Tests)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs – 103 Tests)
14. Henry Speight (ACT Brumbies – 1 Test)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs – 28 Tests)
To Be Confirmed