Genia, Cooper back for Wallabies

Michael Cheika has selected Will Genia and Quade Cooper as his halfback combination for his first match as Wallabies coach against the Barbarians on Saturday.

Genia and Cooper were peripheral figures under former coach Ewen McKenzie, but both have made a return to fitness during the recently concluded NRC in Australia.

Cheika has also opted for Western Force flanker Matt Hodgson as his first captain, with regular skipper Michael Hooper rested ahead of the first Test of the tour against Wales next weekend.

Fijian-born Henry Speight and former Australia U20 star Sean McMahon will also receive their first opportunities for Australia, with the latter set to make his debut from the bench.

'We've worked really hard this week on ensuring our team has a clear understanding of how we want to play, next is to transfer this into the game on Saturday,' said Cheika. 'You sense they're all looking forward to the opportunity against the Barbarians, and so far I've been impressed with the level of consistency they've brought to their work.

'This team contains a mix of players from our last game and also experienced players eager to push their way into the Test team.'

Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nic White, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Christian Leali'ifano, 24 Joe Tomane.

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images