Naivalu set for Wallabies debut

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Melbourne Rebels flyer Sefanaia Naivalu is set to become the 900th Wallaby, after Michael Cheika confirmed his bench for South Africa.

It caps a rapid rise for Naivalu who was spotted in Melbourne’s Dewar Shield Club Rugby competition just two years ago.

The winger’s inclusion sees Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani drop off the bench with Cheika preferring a 5-3 split of forwards and backs.

The Box Hill flyer said during the week he would "give everything I can give for Australia", with that dream now set to become a reality.

"I guess there's a lot of reason to it. Playing for Australia was part of my dream," Naivalu said.

"If I get that opportunity, I'll take it. I won't hesitate or question it or never regret anything.


Fellow Melbourne star James Hanson marks his return to the Test arena, having not played for the Wallabies in over a year.

Scott Fardy and Kane Douglas have also forced their way back into Cheika’s squad after being dropped for the victory over Argentina in Perth a fortnight ago.

The Wallabies have never tasted victory at Loftus Versfeld but have won their last two games against the Springboks.

A win for Australia in Pretoria would all but secure second spot in The Rugby Championship with New Zealand having wrapped up the 2016 title.

The Wallabies play the Springboks at 1:04am Sunday AEST.

1. Scott Sio

2. Stephen Moore (c)

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Adam Coleman

5. Rob Simmons

6. Dean Mumm

7. Michael Hooper

8. Sean McMahon

9. Will Genia

10. Quade Cooper

11. Reece Hodge

12. Bernard Foley

13. Samu Kerevi

14. Dane Haylett-Petty

15. Israel Folau

16. James Hanson

17. James Slipper

18. Tom Robertson

19. Kane Douglas

20. Scott Fardy

21. Nick Phipps

22. Tevita Kuridrani

23. Sefa Naivalu*

*Potential Test debut