Veteran centre Samu Kerevi will turn out for the Wallabies for the first time in two years while Dave Rennie has kept faith in his youngsters for Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Perth.
Despite two heavy losses in Auckland Rennie has opted to stick with the likes of young halves Noah Lolesio and Tate McDermott for the third Test, which also doubles as a Rugby Championship clash.
Rookie lock Darcy Swain and backrowers Lachie Swinton and Rob Valetini have also been retained despite the poor showing at Eden Park.
Rennie said he saw the match as a “great opportunity” to show the players had learnt from their record 57-22 loss.
The Wallabies had a rare win over New Zealand in their last outing at Optus Stadium, posting a 47-26 victory in 2019.
“We were really disappointed with the last outing; we sort of played pretty well in the first 40 minutes but you can’t give up soft points to the All Blacks and we got hurt from it,” Rennie said on Friday.
” It’s a great opportunity for us to show we’ve learnt a few lessons and a lot of the young men that we have playing at the moment are getting better and better so I’m excited to see that play out on Sunday.
“We’re a lot better side than that scoreline suggested so we’re keen for a positive response.”
Explosive tackle-buster Kerevi forms a new centre partnership with Len Ikitau, with veteran Matt Toomua axed and Hunter Paisami returning home for the birth of his child.
He’s back in the Wallabies fold now thanks to a relaxation of the Giteau Law, the veteran of 33 Tests one of two overseas-based players allowed despite not meeting the 60-cap qualification.
It continues a busy off-season for the Japan-based 27-year-old, who was a last-minute addition to Australia’s Olympic rugby sevens outfit.
While excited to have Kerevi onboard Rennie said his preference was still for Australian-based players, feeling that a wholesale change could cause an exodus for lucrative overseas contracts.
World Cup lock Izack Rodda returns from French rugby via the bench for his first Test replacing another expectant father in Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.
Rennie said Rodda, who has signed with Western Force for 2022, had worked hard to improve his fitness.
“He was probably a little bit off the pace physically and to his credit, he’s worked really hard and he’s certainly a lot more explosive and powerful and better conditioned to play Test footy,” Rennie said.
Hooker Folau Fainga’a will play his first Test of the year with Brandon Paenga-Amosa out injured, making it an all-Brumbies front row.
Outside back Jordan Petaia and backrower Pete Samu are two new faces on the bench, with no room for Harry Wilson.
Veteran playmaker Quade Cooper also didn’t make the match squad despite being made available to media midweek.
Rennie said Cooper was “close to selection” but wanted to back Lolesio at 10. The coach was uncertain if the 33-year-old would remain with the squad with James O’Connor set to return from injury.
Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Lachie Swinton, Matt Philip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper.
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.