Hodge and Mumm to start against Springboks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies rookie Reece Hodge is set to continue his astronomical rugby rise, making his starting debut for Australia against the Springboks on Saturday.

The utility back is one of two changes to the starting XV, with Dean Mumm the other, starting at blindside and pushing Scott Fardy out of the Wallabies' match day 23 for the first time since last year's Rugby World Cup pool match against Uruguay.

Dean Mumm will start at blindside flanker. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyHodge came off the bench in the second Bledisloe Test, replacing Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and now the 21-year-old will fill the void left by the veteran, lining up on the left wing, with Dane Haylett-Petty shifting to the right edge.

The Rebels utility has been preferred to Drew Mitchell, who will start on the pine for his first Test since the World Cup final and his first rugby match since May.

Hodge is the only new face in the Wallabies backline from that which started against the All Blacks in Wellington, with coach MIchael Cheika sticking with the Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley in the 10-12 spots.

Samu Kerevi has also retained his spot at 13 after a solid outing against New Zealand a fortnight ago.

Lopeti Timani could be in the mix for his Wallabies debut. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyHe has shown faith in Adam Coleman, handing the Force rookie his second start in a row, the first time this year that Cheika has selected the same second row combination consecutively.

Brumbies second rower Rory Arnold has been given a bench spot, after overcoming an elbow injury that kept him out of the initial Rugby Championship squad.

Lopeti Timani and Sean McMahon are in the mix for their first berths of the tournament, named on an extended bench, with their fate likely to be determined by whether Cheika opts for a six-two split on the bench.

 Wallabies team to take on South Africa at Suncorp Stadium. Saturday September 10, 8:05pm AEST

1. Scott Sio (20 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (c) (107 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (68 Tests)

4. Kane Douglas (25 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (2 Tests)

6. Dean Mumm (48 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (56 Tests)

8. David Pocock (58 Tests)

9. Will Genia (68 Tests)

10. Quade Cooper (59 Tests)

11. Reece Hodge (1 Test)

12. Bernard Foley (32 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (3 Tests)

14. Dane Haylett-Petty (5 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (43 Tests)

Reserves (one to be omitted)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (66 Tests)

James Slipper (79 Tests)

Allan Alaalatoa (2 Tests)

Rory Arnold (2 Tests)

Lopeti Timani*

Sean McMahon (9 Tests)

Nick Phipps (44 Tests)

Tevita Kuridrani (36 Tests)

Drew Mitchell (70 Tests)

*denotes uncapped player

 

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