Cheika sticks with starters for Pumas

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies will take an unchanged starting XV into the clash with Argentina.

Remarkably, it's the first time coach Michael Cheika has named the same starting XV in consecutive matches since he took control of the side during the 2014  Spring Tour.

That's a statistic that even surprised Cheika himself, when asked about it in Buenos Aires.

"You're always being affected by injuries some weeks and then sometimes you try new combinations but I suppose in the overall picture, we've been changing players and mixing the squad," he said.

"Before this campaign, I said before The Rugby Championship that the base is here now and I suppose there are some guys that I am looking at to back up week from week."

There are changes on the bench, though, with Cheika reverting to a 5-3 split after taking just two reserve backs into the 27-all draw in Bloemfontein.Tetera Faulkner will play his first Test since 2014, named on the Wallabies bench. Photo: Getty ImagesNed Hanigan has been left out of the 23 for the first time this year, with fellow Waratah Tom Robertson also dropping out of the squad to make room for Tetera Faulkner.

Faulkner will come into the side for his first Test since that 2014 Spring Tour, where he featured against Wales and Ireland.Cheika said Faulkner's efforts during the week had earned him a spot.

"He has done really well to be up here," he said.

"He didn't expect to be here at this stage and I think he has trained really well and done everything we could ask of him.

"I've been asking for certain things from our finishers and now is an opportunity for Tetera to do that.

"He's got a clear guide as to what we need him to improve so he can be there and competing with Tom, because that's his first port of call.Ned Hanigan has been left out of Cheika's 23 for the first time this season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He will try to compete with Scotty after that - he knows what he needs to do so here is his chance."

Hanigan's omission is a quiet nod to Lukhan Tui, who has been selected after a solid debut against the Springboks a week ago.

He is likely to be Cheika's go-to man should the Wallabies require someone to fill a hole in the backrow, with no specialist flanker named on the bench.

Henry Speight is the back that comes onto the bench, with Marika Koroibete deservedly retaining his spot on the right wing after a stellar first start.

Australia takes on Argentina on Sunday October 8, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and Win.

TEAM

IN: Tetera Faulkner, Henry Speight

OUT: Ned Hanigan, Tom Robertson

Wallabies team to take on the Pumas

1. Scott Sio (37 Tests)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (76 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (85 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (3 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (16 Tests)

6. Jack Dempsey (4 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (73 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (20 Tests)

9. Will Genia (83 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (50 Tests)

11. Reece Hodge (18 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (65 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (52 Tests)

14. Marika Koroibete (2 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (60 Tests)

Reserves

16. Stephen Moore (123 Tests)

17. Tetera Faulkner (2 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (17 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (76 Tests)

20. Lukhan Tui (1 Test)

21. Nick Phipps (56 Tests)

22. Samu Kerevi (12 Tests)

23. Henry Speight (16 Tests)

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