"We need to take back what we lost on the Gold Coast": Foley at 10 as Wallabies hunt for redemption

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Bernard Foley has reclaimed the Wallabies' playmaking reins against the Pumas as Australia looks for redemption in Salta.

Foley has been named to start at flyhalf for the first time in four Tests, winning the battle with Matt Toomua for the no. 10 jersey.

As expected, Kurtley Beale moves to inside centre for the clash while Toomua shifts back to the bench for his last Test before returning to Premiership side Leicester.

Cheika said it was not Toomua's form that caused the change, preferring Beale's running game at 12 and said that Foley's response to being dropped meant he forced his way back into the starters.

"I think he reacted to being left out of the team with just turning up his own involvement around the team as a whole," he said.

"The playmakers have a really important role in driving everybody else and I think Foley since he's been left out has taken that on board.

"He took the disappointment on board of that as well, didn't sook.

"He got back into training and in with the other players and made sure he tried to improve himself and try and improve the team with that.

"I feel like we've done that and he deserves a chance to come back in and have a look."

Foley's stints off the bench have been some of his shortest involvements in games in recent memory after playing basically every minute of Super Rugby and Test rugby in 2018 to that point.

That load is something Cheika said may have contributed to his form dip, even subconsciously but dismissed the notion Foley had become too comfortable with no regular pressure on his spot.

"I think Bernard Foley played the most minutes of any player in Super Rugby, not just Australian players.

"Sometimes, even though you don't want that to affect you, it can get in you.

"So, maybe (it gave him) a bit of a freshen up and (to) realise, 'I've got to fight for my spot here and I've got to be excellent every day' is what someone needs.

"I don't think he would've got complacent at all, I don't see that in him but when you look at it...if you compare him to the minutes that say Beauden Barrett played then there's a significant difference there."

The playmaking reshuffle is the only change to the starting side with Cheika opting to stick with the rest of the team that faced South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

Tolu Latu returns to the 23 after linking up with the squad in Argentina in place of injured hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Polota-Nau returned to England with a hamstring injury, opening the door for Latu's first Test appearance since the Sydney Bledisloe.

Folau Faingaa will start for the second week in a row in Polota-Nau's absence, with Brandon Paenga-Amossa left out of the side.

No. 8 Caleb Timu comes into the squad for the first time since the third June Series Test against Ireland, pipping potential debutant Angus Cottrell for the spot.

Australia needs a win in the clash to avoid their first Rugby Championship wooden spoon, with just one victory so far in the tournament.

The Wallabies will travel to Salta on Thursday evening local time and Cheika said they were out to 'take back what they lost' in a 23-19 loss to the Pumas on the Gold Coast last month.

"We need to take back what we lost in the Gold Coast and that comes from the very top down," he said.

"Obviously they've had a big change since Mario's come back - he's brought a different style of rugby and a different attitude to the team.

"They've had good wins this year against South Africa and against Australia and losing on the Gold Coast hurt us and we'll be looking to get some of that back on Saturday."

One of Rory Arnold or Rob Simmons is likely to drop out of an extended 24-man squad when the team is trimmed on Friday.

The Wallabies face the Pumas in Salta on Sunday October 7 AEDT, kicking off at 9:40am, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten.


IN: Tolu Latu, Caleb Timu

OUT: Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Wallabies to face Argentina

1. Scott Sio (50 Tests)

2. Folau Faingaa (4 Tests)

3. Taniela Tupou (7 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (12 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (27 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (16 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (86 Tests)

8. David Pocock (73 Tests)

9. Will Genia (95 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (63 Tests)

11. Marika Koroibete (16 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (79 Tests)

13. Reece Hodge (32 Tests)

14. Israel Folau (68 Tests)

15. Dane Haylett-Petty (26 Tests)


16. Tolu Latu (8 Tests)

17. Sekope Kepu (98 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (28 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (89 Tests)

20. Rory Arnold (18 Tests)

21. Caleb Timu (2 Tests)

22. Nick Phipps (68 Tests)

23. Matt Toomua (38 Tests)

24. Tom Banks (2 Tests)

*one to be omitted