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Australia Include Three New Caps In First Test Squad

Australia Include Three New Caps In First Test Squad

Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu have been handed Test debuts in the Australia team to face Ireland in Brisbane on Saturday (kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time).

The Queensland Reds pair have been named at hooker and number 8 respectively, and Pete Samu is also set to make his debut from the bench. Caleb Timu’s inclusion pushes David Pocock to blindside flanker, with captain Michael Hooper to start at openside.

Australia head coach Michael Cheika said new cap Timu would bring a strong ball-carrying emphasis to the Australian attack, a facet which the Wallabies need with both Pocock and Hooper putting plenty of energy into other parts of the team’s game.

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“I think Caleb has had a great season, to be honest,” said Cheika. “I think his carrying game has been outstanding and if you look at the way our back row is set up, the other two boys aren’t the hugest of carriers.

“Even just now as he’s come back from injury – he jumped into that game against NSW and made an impact straight away. I think that’s what you want to see from players.”

Izack Rodda will pack down alongside Adam Coleman in the second row, with Sekope Kepu getting the nod over Taniela Tupou at tighthead prop. Will Genia and Bernard Foley will resume their half-back partnership but there is otherwise a new look to the back-line, as Samu Kerevi and Dane Haylett-Petty are named at outside centre and left wing, respectively.

Haylett-Petty’s start is his first in close to nine months after a bicep injury ended his 2017 season midway through the Rugby Championship, while Kerevi will start in the number 13 jersey for the first time since last year’s Test against Japan.

Kerevi’s shift to outside centre squeezes Tevita Kuridrani out of the matchday 23 altogether, and utility back Reece Hodge is pushed back to the bench as Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete earn the first crack at the wings berths.

Cheika added: “Winning these games is about 80 minutes and guys like (Hodge), Simmons, Nick Phipps, they’ve all been in good form and Tupou, Alaalatoa, they’ve been in great form. We’re going to need 80 minutes and that’s a big theme for us this year – consistency. I’m looking at consistency across the board and I’m looking at the finishers to finish.”

Tolu Latu, a late call-up to the series squad, has done enough to earn a spot as cover for debutant hooker Paenga-Amosa on the bench, while Lukhan Tui, Rob Simmons and Samu have all been named as part of a six-two split in the replacements.

AUSTRALIA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2018 Summer Series First Test, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday, June 9, kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time):

Player/Club/Caps –

15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs) 62
14. Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Rebels) 8
13. Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds) 18
12. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs) 71
11. Dane Haylett-Petty (Melbourne Rebels) 18
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs) 55
9. Will Genia (Melbourne Rebels) 88
1. Scott Sio (Brumbies) 43
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (Queensland Reds) *
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs) 91
4. Izack Rodda (Queensland Reds) 4
5. Adam Coleman (Melbourne Rebels) 20
6. David Pocock (Brumbies) 66
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs) (capt) 79 
8. Caleb Timu (Queensland Reds) *


16. Tolu Latu (NSW Waratahs) 4
17. Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies) 23
18. Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds) 1
19. Rob Simmons (NSW Waratahs) 82
20. Lukhan Tui (Queensland Reds) 4
21. Pete Samu (Brumbies) *
22. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs) 61
23. Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels) 24

* Denotes uncapped player