TEAM: Quade Cooper to make Test return

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Quade Cooper will return to the Wallabies starting team this week but it's at his natural flyhalf spot not inside centre,

Speculation was rife that Cooper would fill the number 12 jersey after the Wallabies lost all three of Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua and Rob Horne to injury last week. but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to put the former Reds flyhalf straight into the main playmaking role.

Cooper will combine with usual Wallabies 10 Bernard Foley in a dual playmaker structure, with Foley starting at inside centre for the first time in his Test career.

The move does mean that Cooper and Will Genia will reignite their longstanding partnership in the halves, after playing most of their careers together in Queensland.

The former Red’s inclusion is far from the only change in a Wallabies team shake-up, with Michael Cheika ringing the changes after a 42-8 loss in Sydney.Rob Simmons is moving on from the opening Bledisloe result. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyRob Simmons has been dropped from the side entirely after New Zealand’s domination of the Australian lineout last week, and didn't travel with the team to New Zealand.

Simmons has been replaced by Adam Coleman in the second row, with the Force lock pairing up with Kane Douglas adding more fire to that area of the game.

Blindside flanker Scott Fardy has regained his starting spot, playing alongside Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the Wallabies back row.

Samu Kerevi has also impressed Wallabies coach MIchael Cheika enough to start at outside centre for the second match up, a direct swap for Tevita Kuridrani, who has struggled for form in recent Tests.

That decision is a major tick of approval for Kerevi, with Kuridrani one of the mainstays of Cheika's Wallabies tenure.

Kuridrani has been named on the bench, alongside boom rookie Reece Hodge and Nick Phipps as backs replacements, while Dean Mumm and Will Skelton will be injected off the bench for the forwards.

As well as Simmons, none of Drew Mitchell, Luke Morahan or Ben McCalman travelled with the team to Wellington on Wednesday night, while Nick Frisby was a surprise addition to the touring squad.

The All Blacks named their team earlier on Thursday, with a major backline reshuffle handing Julian Savea a start on the wing.

Wallabies team to face the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday night, 5:35pm AEST

1. Scott Sio (19 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (106 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (67 Tests)

4. Kane Douglas (24 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (1 Test)

6. Scott Fardy (34 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (55 Tests)

8. David Pocock (57 Tests)

9. Will Genia (67 Tests)

10. Quade Cooper (58 Tests)

11. Dane Haylett-Petty (4 Tests)

12. Bernard Foley (31 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (2 Tests)

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (115 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (42 Tests)


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 

17. James Slipper 

18. Allan Ala’alatoa  

19. Dean Mumm 

20. Will Skelton 

21. Tevita Kuridrani 

22. Reece Hodge 

23. Nick Phipps