Saturday 24 March 2018 / 07:00 PM


Three players will make their Australian Test debuts against England in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday night after being named in Michael Cheika’s starting XV, while another is poised for a maiden international appearance off the bench.

Brumbies lock Rory Arnold, Reds centre Samu Kerevi and versatile Force back Dane Haylett-Petty are the new faces in the run-on side, and Reds halfback Nick Frisby has been included in the reserves contingent.

The 208cm Arnold will become the tallest Wallaby ever when he lines up in the second-row with Rob Simmons, with James Horwill and Dean Mumm, who can also cover the loose forwards, named on the bench.

Kerevi will don the No.12 jersey – with incumbent Matt Giteau and the injured Kurtley Beale not available for the Wallabies’ squad – alongside Tevita Kuridrani in the centres. Cheika has opted to leave Israel Folau in the fullback spot, despite his successful transition to the No.13 for the Waratahs.

Frisby has been selected behind Nick Phipps, while Christian Lealiifano is the only other back reserve in a 6-2 split on the bench – although the versatility of Folau, and wingers Haylett-Petty and Rob Horne gives the Wallabies myriad reshuffle options.

Greg Holmes has ousted incumbent tighthead Sekope Kepu for the starting spot in a run-on line-up that features nine survivors from the 34-17 loss to the All Blacks in the World Cup final; 14 of the 23-man squad from last year’s RWC are set to face England this weekend.

Another deserving addition is loose forward reserve Sean McMahon, who was sensational in the pool matches but was behind Ben McCalman in the pecking order for the tournament’s high-stakes clashes.

The England side has also been named, with the key talking point Owen Farrell’s selection at flyhalf for the first time since Eddie Jones took over as coach. George Ford has been relegated to the bench, while Luther Burrell will team up with Jonathan Joseph in the centres.

Despite being tipped as a potential debutant, there was no room for former NRL and Queensland Origin star Ben Te’o in the match-day 23.

Elsewhere, Mako Vunipola is in at prop for the unavailable Joe Marler, with brother Billy at No.8. New Zealand born-and-raised hooker Dylan Hartley will captain the side, squaring off against Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore.

Australia thrashed England 33-13 at Twickenham during last year’s World Cup, just the Wallabies’ second win in six encounters between the archrivals.

England last toured Australia in 2010, with the Wallabies prevailing 27-17 in Perth and England edging out the hosts 21-20 in Sydney.

The nations’ last clash in Brisbane resulted in a 51-15 landslide in favour of Australia.

FIRST TEST: Wallabies v England – 8.00pm (AEST), Saturday, June 11 @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane


Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Greg Holmes, Stephen Moore (c), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, James Horwill, Dean Mumm, Sean McMahon, Nick Frisby, Christian Lealiifano


Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley (captain), Dan Cole. Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Matt Mullan, Paul Hill, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Danny Care, George Ford, Jack Nowell.

[YouTube – World Rugby]

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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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