Will Genia and Bernard Foley have been named in Australia’s starting XV as head coach Michael Cheika names a strong side for their clash against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
The experienced half-back pairing who boast a 137 caps between them, return after missing the Wallabies’ 63-30 thrashing of Japan last weekend in Yokohama, due to a calf injury and stomach bug respectively with Nick Phipps dropping to the bench and Reece Hodge moving from fly-half to the wing.
Kurtley Beale remains at full-back with versatile cross-code star Karmichael Hunt named on the bench after recovering from a neck injury, with the Queensland Reds man expected to come off the bench.
Marika Koroibete, who has made an impressive start to his international career, switches from the left wing to the right wing, with Brumbies flyer Henry Speight moving to the bench.
While Queensland Reds centre Samu Kerevi keeps his place at twelve after an impressive two- try display last weekend, once again forming a powerful midfield partnership with the Brumbies’ Tevita Kuridrani.
Speaking about his decision to keep the strong running star at inside-centre Cheika lauded the 24 year-old’s performance against the brave blossoms, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I thought he played really good on the weekend, to be honest. If Karmichael didn’t get injured in that week he probably would have started the game but Samu would have played as well so they both would have got a chance. As it was, he got an opportunity and I think he deserves another opportunity”.
Before adding that he really rated the Fijian-born star and that he was keen for him to fight back and try and earn a place in the regular starting XV,
“He’s a very good player, Samu, and he hasn’t had it all his own way this year. I’m eager to see him fight back and try and get a spot in the team”.
Up front, Cheika keeps faith with the same eight that started against Japan with ex-captain Stephen Moore, Tom Robertson, Allan Allalatoa, Matt Philip and Ben McCalman, offering plenty of impact off the bench against what will be a physical welsh pack.
Versatile Melbourne Rebels backrower Lopeti Timani, who came off the bench during last weekend’s route, is left out of the matchday 23.
Australia will be looking to extend their twelve match unbeaten run against Wales who have failed to beat the aussies since 2008, while also continuing an impressive six-match unbeaten streak.
Here is the Australia XV:
15. Kurtley Beale
13. Tevita Kuridrani
12. Samu Kerevi
11. Reece Hodge
10. Bernard Foley
9. Will Genia
1. Scott Sio
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Rob Simmons
5. Adam Coleman
6. Ned Hanigan
7.Michael Hooper (c)
8. Sean McMahon
16. Stephen Moore
17. Tom Robertson
20. Ben McCalman
22. Karmichael Hunt
23. Henry Speight