James O’Connor will make his first Wallabies start in six years in their Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks in Perth on Saturday.
O’Connor, who successfully came back to Australian rugby after signing for the Reds, will make his first Test appearance for the Wallabies since 2013. It will also be his first start in the No 13 jersey after coming off the bench in the position against Argentina.
The surprise selection is one of four changes to the Wallabies starting lineup.
Despite intense speculation, experienced flank David Pocock misses out, with the 31-year-old being kept on ice until next week’s return fixture in Auckland.
Meanwhile, Nic White again rotates at scrumhalf with Will Genia, who drops to the bench.
Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu starts three months after being sent home from a Wallabies camp for drunk driving. The 26-year-old was suspended for four games by Rugby Australia.
In the only other change tighthead prop Alan Alaalatoa boosts the front row as he returns from injury.
Wallabies – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.
Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley