Centre of attention: Who is your Wallabies midfield?

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The biggest question mark over the Wallabies first Test line up is the make-up of their centres.


It’s the most intriguing selection of the Wallabies starting XV ahead of the first Test in Brisbane. With injuries and absences throwing up the need to patch together combinations, the inside centre spot is well and truly up for grabs.

Christian Lealiifano - 16 Test Caps

The Brumbies flyhalf would surely be the frontrunner but he is yet to join the Wallabies camp. There is no pressure on Lealiifano to rush into camp, after opting to stay with his partner as she awaits the birth of their first child, but his absence could lengthen his odds of starting in the first Test. Don’t expect it to affect his chances of making it into the team for the rest of the Tests.

Karmichael Hunt - Uncapped

Karmichael Hunt has shaken off a groin niggle to return to Wallabies training. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyMichael Cheika has been effusive in his praise of Hunt in the inside backs, based on his time in Biarritz in between NRL and AFL stints. He could be a chance of cracking the team, but it would be surely more likely that he plays a utility role off the bench.

Israel Folau - 38 Test Caps

A very left-field choice, Folau has been floated by some pundits as an inside centre contender. Would add another attacking threat, while keeping Kuridrani at 13 to be the enforcer. Very unlikely but has been touted by a handful.

Reece Hodge - Uncapped

He trained his way into the second week of Wallabies camp but could the Melbourne Rebels rookie pull off another near miracle this week? Hodge has impressed plenty with his work ethic since coming into camp as injury cover for Mike Harris. Has the ability to play a number of positions, including 12.

Samu Kerevi - Uncapped

Has been sensational at 13 for the Reds and has been floated as a partner for Tevita Kuridrani in the centres, with a switch to 12. The idea of two bashing, crashing, ball-carrying centres up against England is tantalising but would be out of step with what Michael Cheika has done in the past.


Thirteen is a much-less mysterious selection than 12, with Tevita Kuridrani the frontrunner for the spot, but could he be knocked off his perch?

Tevita Kuridrani - 31 Test Caps

Tevita Kuridrani is the frontrunner for 13. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyKuridrani is the incumbent outside centre and a clear favourite of Michael Cheika, with his reliable defensive abilities his key strength. The Brumbies outside centre hasn’t been in outstanding form in Super Rugby but he rarely makes game-changing errors and more often than not is a try saver.

Israel Folau - 38 Test Caps

Folau has made a remarkable switch to outside centre at the Waratahs, sparking speculation he could play in the midfield for the Wallabies. Clearly an attacking weapon wherever he plays, the greatest question over him was in his defence.

Samu Kerevi - Uncapped

Samu Kerevi could crack the Wallabies' starting XV. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleySamu Kerevi has been sensational for the Queensland Reds this season, particularly as an attacking threat. The 22-year-old has probably done enough to earn a starting Wallabies spot but he might just miss out. Will make an impact however he is used on Saturday, and would be almost a certainty for a berth in the 23.