The Qantas Wallabies have announced two changes to their starting line-up for Saturday night’s final Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Mendoza.
Queensland Reds lock Rob Simmons (concussion) has been ruled out of the encounter and will be replaced by provincial teammate James Horwill in the starting XV.
The other change sees Melbourne Rebels backrower Scott Higginbotham earn his place in the number eight jersey with Ben McCalman unavailable after injuring his shoulder in Australia’s Test against South Africa at the weekend.
ACT Brumbies centre Matt Toomua also completed concussion protocols and will take his place in an unchanged backline.
“Rob plays a significant role in the team as our chief lineout caller, so it’s disappointing to lose him, but we’re confident in the abilities of James and are looking forward to seeing him step up in this area,” coach Ewen McKenzie said.
“Scott has been working hard and looking for an opportunity in the starting side for some time. With the injury to Ben, he now gets his chance.
“He’s got unique athletic ability for a big guy, and that will be important against an Argentinian side which has made major strides forward with their defence during this year’s tournament.”
A number of changes have also been made on the bench with McKenzie opting for a forward-heavy 6-2 split.
It boasts four new faces in the forwards, including two potential debutants in backrower Jake Schatz and hooker Josh Mann-Rea. It also sees lock Will Skelton and backrower Matt Hodgson return to the side.
“We recognise the need to have enough strike-power in the forwards to get us through the back-end of the game, especially after such a physical encounter against South Africa followed by a difficult period of travel,” McKenzie said.
“That only leaves two spots for the backs, and we believe in this instance the combination of Nic White and Rob Horne will provide us with the best balance given the physicality we expect in this match.
“In the end, we feel the combination of the entire bench will offer us the vigour and intensity we need in attack and defence in the later stages of the game.”
The Qantas Wallabies side to play Argentina in their final Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash in Mendoza on Saturday 4 October is:
1. James Slipper (vc - Queensland Reds)
2. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
4. Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies)
5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
7. Michael Hooper (c - NSW Waratahs)
8. Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels)
9. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs)
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs)
11. Joe Tomane (ACT Brumbies)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc - NSW Waratahs)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
16. Josh Mann-Rea (ACT Brumbies)
17. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
18. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
19. Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs)
20. Jake Schatz (Queensland Reds)
21. Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
22. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
23. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)