Versatile back Reece Hodge and young forward Harry Wilson were recalled to an injury-blighted Wallabies team among four changes for their winners-take-all third Test clash with England.
Hodge was handed a lifeline at fullback for the sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground match on Saturday after injuries to Tom Banks, Jordan Petaia and Andrew Kellaway, having failed to make Dave Rennie’s initial 36-man squad for the series.
Although his recent form has been patchy, Hodge tends to rise to the occasion and his big boot could prove an asset in what will be his 55th Test.
Tom Wright and the powerful Marika Koroibete will again man the wings with the Ella-Mobbs Cup on the line. Australia won the opener in Perth 30-28 before England convincingly bounced back in Brisbane 25-17.
Wilson comes in at blindside flank to complement a back row that includes captain Michael Hooper and No 8 Rob Valetini, with Cadeyrn Neville out injured.
“Harry and Reece are both super excited to wear the Wallaby gold for the first time this year and have trained extremely well,” said Rennie.
Test centurion James Slipper replaces Angus Bell at loosehead prop and will be joined by David Porecki who plays his first Test in his home town at hooker with Taniela Tupou at tighthead.
Nick Frost earns his second cap alongside stalwart Matt Philip in the second row, with Rob Leota dropping to the bench.
“We know we’re a much-better team than how we played in Brisbane and we’ve had a good week of preparation which will allow us to put in a performance that makes Australians proud on Saturday night,” added Rennie.
“As a squad we have an opportunity to go to Sydney and lift some silverware in a series decider and that’s something that highly motivates us.”
Australia – 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Harry Wilson, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu.
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