Flank Rob Leota will make his run-on debut, with James O’Connor playing in his first international of the year when the Wallabies take on Argentina on Saturday.
Leota’s promotion to the starting lineup is one of three changes to the match-day squad for the Rugby Championship fifth-round clash in north Queensland, with coach Dave Rennie keen to build on consecutive upsets of world champions South Africa.
Melbourne Rebels rising star Leota gets his chance in only his second Test, joined in the back row by skipper Michael Hooper and Rob Valetini at No 8.
Reece Hodge comes in for the injured Tom Banks, who has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a fractured arm suffered in the team’s 30-17 win over the Springboks this past weekend.
A fit-again O’Connor was an option but Rennie instead went for the versatile Rebels star, despite Hodge struggling under the high ball when he came off the bench last week.
O’Connor made the match-day 23 and will see his first action since May, when a groin injury sidelined him after he had made the flyhalf role his own. That position has now been taken by Quade Cooper.
In an otherwise unchanged backline, scrumhalf Nic White kept Tate McDermott out of the side and will partner Cooper, with the impressive Len Ikitau alongside Samu Kerevi in midfield.
Hodge will roam the backline with last week’s two-try hero Marika Koroibete on the left wing and Andrew Kellaway on the right.
Among the forwards, James Slipper plays his 109th Test in the front row alongside Folau Fainga’a and powerhouse Taniela Tupou, while Izack Rodda partners Matt Philip in the second row.
Argentina head into the game on the back of four straight tournament defeats, although they will take heart in earning draws with Australia twice last year.
Australia – 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Jordan Petaia.
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