Sio back for Scotland clash

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Scott Sio will play his first game in almost two months, named to return to the Wallabies bench against Scotland.

Sio is the only change to the Wallabies bench for the clash, coming into the 23 in place of Toby Smith.

The 25-year-old hasn’t played since injuring his knee playing for the Brumbies in Super Rugby, but coach Michael Cheika has put faith in the prop to make it through the back end of the game.

Cheika said on Thursday that Tom Robertson had earned a retention in the starting loosehead spot, with Sio needing to earn the position back.

The inclusion means the Wallabies will have their 2015 Rugby World Cup final front row on the bench on Saturday, with Stephen Moore and Sekope Kepu also on the pine.

Eto Nabuli will be the Wallabies' fifth 2017 debutant, bringing another dose of strength and speed to the lineup, attack coach Stephen Larkham said.

"I think he’s been a standout winger," he said.

"He’s definitely a finisher, he’s got great skills, he’s got good height, so hopefully there’s a little bit of ball in air to him.

"Then defensively (he's) just a good body, communicating well with the outside backs there.

"A nice big body in the outside channels."

Brumbies lock Rory Arnold will back up for Sam Carter and Adam Coleman once again, while last week’s debutants Richard Hardwick and Joe Powell will have another chance to don the Wallabies jersey, earning recalls as well.

Joe Powell will be looking to step up against Scotland. Photo: Walmsley

Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham has been Powell's biggest supporter, since pushing for his involvement in the Wallabies' wider June squad last year, and said the Brumbies halfback would be better for his first outing in Melbourne.

"A lot of hard work has gone into Joe," he said.

"I’ve shown a lot of confidence in Joe over the last 18 months, given him a few opportunities at the Brumbies last year and he’s really stood out this year.

"He certainly deserved the position, it wasn’t something I had to push for, it was a unanimous decision by the selectors to put him in the team.

"He’d be disappointed with his performance last week, a couple of errors early but he’ll be much better for it. I’m very pleased he had the opportunity and I know he’ll be better this week.

Quade Cooper and Reece Hodge round out the reserves.

The Wallabies take on Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm aEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.


IN: Eto Nabuli, Scott Sio

OUT: Henry Speight (hamstring), Toby Smith

Wallabies to take on Scotland

1. Tom Robertson (8 Tests)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (69 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (10 Tests)

4. Sam Carter (14 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (10 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (1 Test)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (66 Tests)

8. Scott Higginbotham (33 Tests)

9. Will Genia (76 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (43 Tests)

11. Eto Nabuli*

12. Karmichael Hunt (1 Test)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (46 Tests)

14. Dane Haylett-Petty (15 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (53 Tests)


16. Stephen Moore (118 Tests)

17. Scott Sio (30 Tests)

18. Sekope Kepu (78 Tests)

19. Rory Arnold (10 Tests)

20. Richard Hardwick (1 Test)

21. Joe Powell (1 Test)

22. Quade Cooper (68 Tests)

23. Reece Hodge (11 Tests)

*denotes uncapped