Cheika makes six changes to starting XV, as Pocock brings up 50 in Bledisloe blockbuster

by Staff Writer

Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika continues to utilise the depth in his Wallabies squad, making six changes to the starting XV for this Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup decider in Auckland.

Playmakers Quade Cooper and Matt Toomua replace Bernard Foley and Matt Giteau in the midfield, while Will Skelton switches with Dean Mumm to start the match with James Horwill in the second row.

Brumbies Nic White and Henry Speight alongside Waratahs number 8 Wycliff Palu have all been named in the run-on side for the first time in 2015. Kane Douglas will also play his first match for the Wallabies since 2013 from the bench, after returning from Ireland on a long-term contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika said: “We know this week will be another huge challenge for the team and our biggest test to date, and we need to improve again on what we’ve produced in our previous matches.

“Wycliff, Henry and Kane have all worked hard for this opportunity and have brought a lot of energy to the group this week.”

Wallabies backrower David Pocock will celebrate his milestone 50th Test for Australia from the reserves bench; a monumental feat for the 27 year-old, who missed the last two international seasons due to injury.

Pocock reaches the 50-game mark in his eighth season of Test Rugby, having made his international debut for Australia off the bench against New Zealand in Hong Kong in 2008.

Chieka was full of praise for Pocock, who has been one of the Wallabies’ best in 2015.

“David has had to overcome some hurdles with regards to injury to reach this milestone but the way in which he’s got there through perseverance and a lot of hard work and patience is a great measure of his character.

“He has been one of our best players this season, and the respect he commands from his teammates and peers is a testament to the way he approaches the game.

“He knows that he will play a pivotal part in closing the match on Saturday night, and I expect he will put in a performance that all of Australia will be proud of.”

Qantas Wallabies Team to play the All Blacks for the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday, 15 August 5:35pm (AEST) 7:35pm (local time)

1. Scott Sio (Brumbies - 8 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore, C (Brumbies - 95 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs - 55 Tests)

4. Will Skelton (Waratahs - 11 Tests)

5. James Horwill (Reds - 60 Tests)

6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies - 23 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper, VC (Waratahs - 44 Tests)

8. Wycliff Palu (Waratahs - 54 Tests)

9. Nic White (Brumbies - 21 Tests)

10. Quade Cooper (Reds - 54 Tests)

11. Henry Speight (Brumbies - 2 Tests)

12. Matt Toomua (Brumbies - 24 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies - 23 Tests)

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, VC (Waratahs - 107 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (Waratahs - 32 Tests)

Reserves

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs - 52 Tests)

17. James Slipper (Reds - 66 Tests)

18. Greg Holmes (Reds - 16 Tests)

19. Dean Mumm (Waratahs - 35 Tests)

20. Kane Douglas (Reds - 14 Tests)

21. David Pocock (Brumbies - 49 Tests)

22. Matt Giteau (Toulon - 94 Tests)

23. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs - 51 Tests)

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