Explosive centre Samu Kerevi and big lock Izack Rodda will pull on a Wallabies jersey for the first time since the 2019 World Cup Sunday as coach Dave Rennie employs new weapons to tackle the All Blacks.
Japan-based Kerevi is back in the fold due to a relaxation of the so-called “Giteau’s Law”, which bars overseas-based players from representing Australia unless they have appeared in at least 60 Tests.
But Rennie is now allowed to pick two players who do not meet the threshold, allowing Kerevi to return to the run-on side for his 34th appearance in the third and final Bledisloe Cup clash at Perth, replacing the under-performing Matt To’omua.
Rodda returns to the bench barely a year after turning his back on Australian rugby to move overseas for a lucrative contract with Lyon, having refused to take a pay cut at the Queensland Reds when Covid hit Super Rugby.
He has since jetted back to Australia and will play for Western Force next season.
“It’s great to be able to call on the experience of Samu and Izack this weekend,” said Rennie.
“Both Samu and Izack have worked really hard since joining the group, been positive additions and have earned their opportunity to pull on the gold jersey on Sunday afternoon at Optus Stadium.”
Folau Fainga’a, meanwhile, will play his first Test of 2021, named at hooker in an all-ACT Brumbies front row alongside James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa.
The remaining forward pack is unchanged from the Wallabies’ 57-22 defeat to New Zealand in Auckland last month with Matt Philip and Darcy Swain the second row combination.
Michael Hooper will captain the side for the 58th time, one behind the most decorated Wallabies captain, George Gregan.
He is joined in the backrow by Lachlan Swinton and Rob Valetini, while Tate McDermott keeps his place at scrum-half ahead of Nic White.
Kerevi replaces Hunter Paisami, whose partner is due to give birth imminently, and will combine with Len Ikitau in the midfield while the back three of Marika Koroibete, Andrew Kellaway and Tom Banks is unchanged.
“We are excited about the chance to be back on home soil and put in a performance that all of our supporters can be proud of,” added Rennie.
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nic White, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia
© Agence France-Presse