Australia head coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged matchday squad to take on Ireland in Saturday’s second Test in Melbourne, opting against bringing in Ned Hanigan (knee) or Rory Arnold (suspension).
It is the first time since taking over the Wallabies reins in 2014 that Michael Cheika has kept the same 23 two weeks in-a-row. Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa is retained as the forwards look to shore up a somewhat inconsistent lineout when they arrive in Melbourne.
His fellow Brisbane debutant Caleb Timu has held off Pete Samu and Hanigan to keep his spot at number 8, combining with David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the back row. With heavy rain expected on Saturday night, Cheika has kept a six-two split on the bench as well.
“I think first game of the season, we had a rush, we crammed a lot last week, so I’d just like to give those guys another opportunity to get out there with the understanding of being together for another three or for days and try and do better,” he said.
“I think we need to raise the bar on ourselves, on our own standards this week to give ourselves a chance of winning the game.”
Allan Alaalatoa is still struggling to shake a sprained ankle, while Hanigan was available, and Cheika hinted he would be in the mix for the third Test, adding: “Ned was available, he had a full week’s training, so that’s good. He’ll get himself, I’m sure, in the frame. He got stuck into it in the physical stuff this week and I’m sure when he gets the full contact into him next week. He’ll be a good option to play probably.”
AUSTRALIA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2018 Summer Series First Test, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Saturday, June 16, kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time):
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs) 63
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (Melbourne Rebels) 19
13. Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds) 19
12. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs) 72
11. Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Rebels) 9
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs) 56
9. Will Genia (Melbourne Rebels) 89
1. Scott Sio (Brumbies) 44
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (Queensland Reds) 1
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs) 92
4. Izack Rodda (Queensland Reds) 5
5. Adam Coleman (Melbourne Rebels) 21
6. David Pocock (Brumbies) 67
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs) (capt) 80
8. Caleb Timu (Queensland Reds) 1
16. Tolu Latu (NSW Waratahs) 5
17. Tom Robertson (NSW Waratahs) 19
18. Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds) 2
19. Rob Simmons (NSW Waratahs) 83
20. Lukhan Tui (Queensland Reds) 5
21. Pete Samu (Brumbies) 1
22. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs) 62
23. Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels) 25