Lukhan Tui has earned his first start for Australia, named at blindside flanker for the series-deciding clash with Ireland at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time).
The lineout has been problematic for the Wallabies in the first two Tests, and Lukhan Tui, who replaces his Queensland Reds team-mate Caleb Timu, will bring another option in that set piece, although head coach Michael Cheika said that was only a bonus of his selection.
“That is obviously an advantage, he’s a better lineout operator because he’s a taller guy obviously,” said Cheika, who has moved David Pocock to number 8. “So, I just think Lukhan has impressed – he didn’t have much of a lead-in as far as his own form because he was off injured and he’s come in and he’s really impressed, not just in the games, also at training as well.”
Ned Hanigan comes onto the bench, replacing Tui, after overcoming a medial ligament injury suffered in Super Rugby. Nick Phipps will start at scrum half in place of the injured Will Genia (arm), with Joe Powell earning his first Test spot since last November, named on the bench.
Cheika said there would not be any danger of his side shrinking into its shell in the series decider, adding: “The way I go, it’s usually the opposite way, I think we’ll be less conservative. You can’t win finals without scoring tries and playing footy. I’m a true believe in that.
“Ireland did well last week to restrict us from doing that and we’ll be looking to try and open up a bit this weekend for sure. I think we have in all the games, (some) with a bit more success than others but the last thing you do when the finals come is shrink. You want to go out there and play.”
AUSTRALIA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2018 Summer Series First Test, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Saturday, June 23, kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time):
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs) 64
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (Melbourne Rebels) 20
13. Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds) 20
12. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs) 73
11. Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Rebels) 10
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs) 57
9. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs) 63
1. Scott Sio (Brumbies) 45
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (Queensland Reds) 2
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs) 93
4. Izack Rodda (Queensland Reds) 6
5. Adam Coleman (Melbourne Rebels) 22
6. Lukhan Tui (Queensland Reds) 6
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs) (capt) 81
8. David Pocock (Brumbies) 68
16. Tolu Latu (NSW Waratahs) 6
17. Tom Robertson (NSW Waratahs) 20
18. Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds) 3
19. Rob Simmons (NSW Waratahs) 84
20. Ned Hanigan (NSW Waratahs) 12
21. Pete Samu (Brumbies) 2
22. Joe Powell (Brumbies) 3
23. Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels) 26