All Blacks opt for stability as Wallabies roll dice for crunch clash

All Blacks opt for stability as Wallabies roll dice for crunch clash
Test rookie Carter Gordon will start at fly-half
Test rookie Carter Gordon will start at fly-half
Under-pressure Wallabies coach Eddie Jones rolled the dice Thursday with a new-look "young, vibrant" side to face the All Blacks in Melbourne, while powerhouse New Zealand opted for stability in making just one injury-enforced change.

Australia head into the Melbourne Cricket Ground game on Saturday, in front of an expected 80,000 fans, after consecutive Rugby Championship defeats to South Africa and Argentina.

Should the All Blacks win they will retain not only the Rugby Championship title, but also the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup, which Australia has not got its hands on since 2002.

Former England boss Jones is without a win since taking over from Dave Rennie, and again shuffled the deck as he continues his search for his best side to field at the September-October World Cup in France.

The biggest surprise among seven changes to the run-on team was Test rookie Carter Gordon getting the nod at fly-half ahead of 78-Test stalwart Quade Cooper, who started the last two matches.

Gordon will partner scrum-half Tate McDermott, preferred to another veteran Nic White as Jones looks to freshen up the underperforming team.

Equally surprising was co-skipper James Slipper dropping to the bench, with Angus Bell linking up with hooker David Porecki and tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa.

As expected, fellow co-skipper Michael Hooper was not among the 23 as he continues to recover from a calf injury, with ACT Brumbies captain Alaalatoa taking the armband.

"We are a team that wants to make Australia proud, and Saturday night is a great opportunity to light up the MCG," said Jones.

"A young starting 15 and vibrant, experienced finishers will give us the 80 minutes we want. Wallaby rugby versus New Zealand rugby, it's the most important game of the year."

Among other changes, Jordan Petaia returns at outside centre after a long injury lay-off and will partner Samu Kerevi in the midfield.

Andrew Kellaway will also play his first Test of the year at fullback alongside Marika Koroibete and Mark Nawaqanitawase on the wings.

Huge excitement

In contrast to Jones's mass changes, opposite number Ian Foster mostly stuck with the side that emphatically beat world champions South Africa 35-20 earlier this month, describing the Wallabies as "a massive challenge".

The only change to the starting XV was Dalton Papali'i coming in for regular skipper Sam Cane, who suffered a neck strain against the Springboks, although the bench has a new look.

In Cane's absence, Ardie Savea will captain the side for just the fifth time, in the first All Blacks Test at the MCG since 2007.

"This trophy (Bledisloe Cup) means so much to both countries and we expect a massive challenge on Saturday," said Foster.

"As the final Rugby Championship Test, there is much at stake in this game.

"We have learned a lot from two stern Tests so far this year and there is huge excitement about playing Australia at this iconic ground."

Among the New Zealand replacements are uncapped Wellington Hurricanes scrum-half Cam Roigard and veteran lock Sam Whitelock, who is in line for his 144th cap in what would be his first Test appearance in eight months.

Others recalled to the bench are midfield back Anton Lienert-Brown, loose forward Luke Jacobson and prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Australia (15-1):

Andrew Kellaway; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi; Marika Koroibete, Carter Gordon, Tate McDermott; Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Jed Holloway; Will Skelton, Nick Frost; Allan Alaalatoa (capt), David Porecki, Angus Bell.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Richie Arnold, Rob Leota, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Izaia Perese

New Zealand (15-1):

Beauden Barrett; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea; Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea (capt), Dalton Papali'i, Shannon Frizell; Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick; Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot.

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Luke Jacobson, Cam Roigard, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke.


France gouvernement

Les jeux d’argent et de hasard peuvent être dangereux : pertes d’argent, conflits familiaux, addiction…

Retrouvez nos conseils sur (09-74-75-13-13, appel non surtaxé)

Do you want to withdraw your consent to display betting ads?
Yes, change settings