Playmaker Kurtley Beale is set to feature in his first Test since the 2019 Rugby World Cup after being selected in Australia’s match-day 23 to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
The 32-year-old was called up by the Wallabies for a tour of Britain following an injury to Reece Hodge and the decisions of Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper to remain in Japan with their club sides.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named Beale on the bench before Tests against England and Wales, with the versatile 92-Test veteran able to provide cover at fullback, flyhalf and in midfield.
Racing 92’s Beale will be joined among the replacements by another France-based late call-up in La Rochelle’s powerhouse forward Will Skelton, with Toulouse lock Rory Arnold, in the starting XV.
“To be able to call on the experience and quality of players like Rory, Kurtley and Will is really valuable for our group,” said Rennie after naming his side on Friday.
“Kurtley has been fantastic. He’s passionate, a really good communicator, he looks sharp, he’s trained well … he realises it’s a great opportunity.
“He thought his Wallabies dream was over, so it’s exciting for him and his family, and it’s exciting for us,” the New Zealander added.
James O’Connor will replace Cooper at flyhalf, with Andrew Kellaway remaining at fullback after Hodge was ruled out with a chest injury.
Australia are on a five-match winning streak following a 32-23 victory away to Japan two weeks ago.
But they haven’t beaten Scotland, who hammered Tonga 60-14 last week, since 2016 and former Glasgow Warriors coach Rennie said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of players in the Scotland set-up and we’ve prepared knowing how tough of a challenge it’s going to be at Murrayfield on Sunday.”
Australia – 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Izaia Perese.
Coach: Dave Rennie (NZL)
© Agence France-Presse