Cannon was involved in a punch-up with his opposite number Kevan Mealamu, and while opinion was somewhat divided as to who was most at fault, Cannon received a 2-week suspension.
Cannon watched anxiously from the stand as Jeremy Paul played a stormer in his stead against South Africa, garnering rich praise from Eddie Jones. But Jones has opted to go with the man that had been in possession, saying "We're fortunate to have two quality hookers available this week and Brendan gets the nod over Jeremy to start the match. Brendan's previous form has been very consistent and Jeremy will still play a significant role in the match after a first class performance last week."
Australia have to win the match if they are to have any chance to win the TriNations, as they trail the All Blacks by three points in the table. Although they were outmuscled and outfought upfront in the rain-soaked first match between the two, they will hope for a firmer sod and conditions and use their exciting backline to greater effect.
Australia continue with their two opensides in the backrow, with George Smith operating at 6. Jones outlined his thinking on this as follows "George Smith played well last week and while Radike Samo and John Roe came into consideration, we've decided to stick with George," said Jones. "He gives us the balance of a ball winner, good runner and the high work rate we need in the back row," said Jones.
Matt Burke is named on the bench for what may be his last outing for Australia on home soil. If he does make an appearance, it will mark his 80th cap.
Australia: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham, 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 George Smith, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Bill Young. Replacements: 16 Jeremy Paul, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Daniel Vickerman, 19 John Roe, 20 Chris Whitaker, 21 Matthew Burke, 22 Wendell Sailor.