Wallabies switch up to ‘light up’ MCG

Eddie Jones has overhauled the Australia lineup to face the All Blacks in Melbourne on Saturday, gambling on rookie playmaker Carter Gordon over veteran Quade Cooper.

The Wallabies head into the MCG game after consecutive Rugby Championship defeats to South Africa and Argentina.

Jones is without a win since taking over from Dave Rennie, and again shuffled the pack as he continues his search for his best side to field at the September-October World Cup in France.

The biggest surprise among the seven changes was 22-year-old Carter getting the nod at flyhalf ahead of 78-Test stalwart Cooper, who started the last two Tests.

He will partner with scrumhalf Tate McDermott, preferred to another veteran Nic White, as Jones looks to freshen up the underperforming team.

Equally surprising was co-skipper James Slipper dropping to the bench, with Angus Bell linking up with hooker David Porecki and tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa.

MORE: Boks to go to ‘dark places’ with Pumas

As expected, fellow co-skipper Michael Hooper was not among the 23 as he continues to recover from a calf injury, with Brumbies captain Alaalatoa taking the armband.

“We are a team that wants to make Australia proud, and Saturday night is a great opportunity to light up the MCG,” said Jones. “A young starting 15 and vibrant, experienced finishers will give us the 80 minutes we want.”

Among other changes, Jordan Petaia returns at outside centre after a long injury lay-off and will partner with Samu Kerevi in the midfield.

Andrew Kellaway will also play his first Test of the year at fullback alongside Marika Koroibete and Mark Nawaqanitawase on the wings.

Lock Nick Frost returns to the second row alongside Will Skelton, while Tom Hooper, who missed the last Test with a shoulder injury, is back at openside flanker in a new-look back row that features Jed Holloway at blindside flanker and Rob Valetini at No 8.

© Agence France-Presse

Photo: EPA/Dan Himbrechts/BackpagePix

Post by