Michael Cheika has made five changes to the Wallabies starting lineup for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against England in Oita.
In naming his side, Cheika sprung a big surprise with his selection of 19-year-old Jordan Petaia at outside centre at the expense of the experienced James O’Connor, who drops to the bench. Petaia’s switch from wing to midfield has Reece Hodge returning at right wing after his three-game suspension.
Christian Leali’ifano and Will Genia also come in as the halfback axis ahead of Matt Toomua and Nic White, who will be used as substitutes.
There are only two changes to the pack, where captain Michael Hooper returns to the back row and Allan Alaalatoa packs down in the front row.
A win would put the Wallabies through to a third consecutive World Cup semi-final and end a six-game losing streak against the English, dating back to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
A loss would be the end of a host of Wallabies’ decorated careers with Will Genia, David Pocock and Sekope Kepu all confirming their Test retirements in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Australia – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 James O’Connor.
Photo: Getty Images