Leroy Houston’s long Wallabies wait appears to be over, with the bullocking number eight included on the final bench for Australia’s clash with Argentina.
Houston’s inclusion on the bench continues a super-sized Wallabies lineup, that already contains Australia’s tallest lock combination and monstrous starting number eight Lopeti Timani.
The 29-year-old’s first Test selection comes 11 years after he was first thrown into Wallabies camp as an 18-year-old.
Melbourne Rebels flyer Sefa Naivalu is the casualty of the forward-heavy bench, dropping out of the matchday 23 after making his debut against South Africa.
Cheika’s decision to pick Timani and Houston is a return to a traditional back row structure, giving a possible glimpse of Wallabies life in 2017, with David Pocock’s looming sabbatical.
The Wallabies mentor on Thursday praised Houston for settling back into Wallabies camp so quickly, after being a late call-up into the squad with Australia’s backrow stocks depleted through injury.
“Considering we've moved on with a few things since he was last in the camp [in June], he's adjusted quickly,” he said.
“I've been pleased with what he's brought so far.
Houston has been in England as injury cover for his former club, Bath, and Cheika was full of praise for the Premiership side for its cooperation in returning Houston for the week, and any other potential Test duties.
“It's been really good dialogue between the two teams and I really expect the approach they've had for their player because they want to do it for the best interests of their player.”
Houston is likely to return to Bath after this weekend’s Test before he returns to Ballymore to begin his preseason with the Queensland Reds in November.
Australia meets Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday morning at 5:30am AEDT. Tickets at http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Wallabies will take on Argentina at Twickenham at 5:30am on Sunday (AEDT) in the final Rugby Championship match.
1. Scott Sio (23 Tests)
2. Stephen Moore (c) (110 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (71 Tests)
4. Rory Arnold (4 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (5 Tests)
6. Dean Mumm (51 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (59 Tests)
8. Lopeti Timani (1 Test)
9. Will Genia (71 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (62 Tests)
11. Reece Hodge (4 Tests)
12. Bernard Foley (35 Tests)
13. Samu Kerevi (6 Tests)
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (8 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (46 Tests)
16. James Hanson (10 Tests)
17. Tom Robertson (2 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (3 Tests)
19. Kane Douglas (26 Tests)
20. Scott Fardy (36 Tests)
21. Leroy Houston*
22. Nick Phipps (46 Tests)
23. Tevita Kuridrani (39 Tests)
*denotes uncapped player