Wednesday 24 January 2018 / 02:43 PM


Less than two years ago, Curtis Rona was on tour with the New Zealand Kiwis rugby league side in England. Now he finds himself in the green and gold of the Wallabies to face off against the might of the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night.

Rona did not play a match for the Kiwis – returning home from the Old Dart for the birth of his daughter – but the tall flyer, who scored 40 tries in 57 NRL games for North Queensland and Canterbury, is nevertheless a curiosity on the wing for the Australian rugby union side.

The Waitara-born veteran of just one season with Western Force is the only debutant named by Michael Cheika for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener, but he is far from the only talking point.

England-based Kurtley Beale has been picked in the No.12 jumper, joining Samu Kerevi in the centres with Tevita Kuridrani on the bench.

Despite relinquishing the captaincy, 120-Test stalwart Stephen Moore was chosen at hooker ahead of Tatafu Polota-Nau, who comes off the bench.

Sean McMahon has emerged from an injury-hampered season to win the No.8 jumper ahead of Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani, while Waratahs 22-year-old Ned Hanigan completes an exciting loose-forward trio with skipper Michael Hooper.

The Wallabies are hunting for just their second win in their last 17 Tests against the All Blacks


1. Scott Sio (32 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (120 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (11 Tests)

4. Rory Arnold (12 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (12 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (3 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (68 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (15 Tests)

9. Will Genia (78 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (45 Tests)

11. Curtis Rona*

12. Kurtley Beale (60 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (8 Tests)

14. Henry Speight (12 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (55 Tests)


17. Tom Robertson (9 Tests)

18. Sekope Kepu (80 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (71 Tests)

20. Lopeti Timani (7 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (52 Tests)

22. Reece Hodge (13 Tests)

23. Tevita Kuridrani (47 Tests)

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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