Nic White and Bernard Foley will start at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively for Australia against France in Brisbane on Saturday.
It will be White's third starting opportunity for the Wallabies after playing consecutive matches in the No 9 jersey against Argentina and the Springboks during the Rugby Championship. Foley, who earned four caps during his maiden Test season in 2013, has been rewarded for a dominant Super Rugby campaign and will take on the goal-kicking responsibilities in his first starting opportunity for the Wallabies.
There is no place in the squad for Reds scrumhalf and former captain Will Genia.
Following in the footsteps of his father and former Wallaby David Carter, 24-year-old Brumbies lock Sam Carter will become Wallaby No 879 when he makes his Test debut in the starting line-up.
'We function in a performance environment and so it's important to reward those who have consistently played at a high level over the course of the season,' said McKenzie. 'This year we're in a particularly strong position whereby so many of our players have been performing well for their provinces. The margins are so small but it unfortunately does mean that quality players are going to miss out, which is the case for our opening Test against France.
'However, selection will always be a week-to-week proposition at a Test level and the challenge now is for those players chosen to continue playing at the high level we know they can.'
McKenzie also backed his new playmaking duo to make the most of their opportunity.
'Nic and Bernard are two players who have had a huge influence in the results of their provincial teams over the past two seasons,' added McKenzie. 'I've also been pleased to see their development as playmakers since getting a taste of Test Rugby last year and you can sense they have a real confidence in running a game.
'We have a very specific style of game we want to play – the Wallaby way – and their two skill-sets complement each other in ensuring we can deliver our game plan on the night. They're also established goal-kickers and you can never underestimate the importance of this skill at an international level.'
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Peku, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 James Horwill, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Pat McCabe.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images