Wallabies gamble on four rookies in crunch All Blacks Test

New Zealand are seeking an unassailable 2-0 Bledisloe Cup series lead on Saturday in Sydney after winning the second Test in Auckland and drawing the opening clash in Wellington.

Wallabies players. Picture: @Wallabies/Facebook.com.

SYNDEY - Wallabies coach Dave Rennie Thursday gambled with four rookies in his squad for their must-win clash against the All Blacks this weekend, while his opposite number Ian Foster made three changes.

New Zealand are seeking an unassailable 2-0 Bledisloe Cup series lead on Saturday in Sydney after winning the second Test in Auckland and drawing the opening clash in Wellington.

Rennie dumped fullback Tom Banks in favour of veteran Dane Haylett-Petty, who is returning from injury and is renowned one of Australia's best players under the high ball.

His also named debutants Noah Lolesio at fly-half and Irae Simone at inside centre, with the experienced Matt Toomua and James O'Connor both out injured.

"It's really exciting to be able to name four more debutants in the squad this week," said Rennie, who also included uncapped forward Fraser McReight and scrum-half Tate McDermott on the bench.
"Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we have no doubt they're ready to take the step up to Test rugby."

The explosive Jordan Petaia will play his first Test in Australia after being preferred to Hunter Paisami at outside centre, while Allan Alaalatoa got the nod ahead of Taniela Tupou at tight-head prop.

"We know New Zealand will pose another tough challenge but we've prepared well and will be ready to go on Saturday night," added Rennie.


Foster made three changes to his run-on side, handing number eight Hoskins Sotutu his starting debut, welcoming back veteran lock Sam Whitelock and recalling prop Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Whitelock returns after missing New Zealand's Auckland Test victory with concussion, the same injury that has kept Joe Moody out of Saturday's fixture, opening the way for Tu'inukuafe.

Sotutu, used off the bench in the opening two Tests of the series, comes in for Ardie Savea, who is on paternity leave.

"He's had plenty of minutes already in the Bledisloe Cup series and he's ready to go," Foster said.

"He's excited. It's a chance to start his first Test so it's pretty special for him."

Foster kept the experimental backline that secured the All Blacks a 27-7 win in Auckland, with Beauden Barrett preferred over brother Jordie at fullback and Richie Mo'unga at fly-half.

Jordie Barrett starts on the right wing with Caleb Clarke, who made a sensational debut start in Auckland, looking to again rampage down the left sideline.

On the bench, Tyrel Lomax comes in for Nepo Laulala, who is also on paternity leave, while loose forward Dalton Papalii and centre Ngani Laumape make their first squad appearances this year.

Utility back Rieko Ioane replaces Damian McKenzie.
While the All Blacks have held the Bledisloe since 2003, they have not had to wrap up the series in Australia since 2009 and Foster said it was an exciting prospect for his players.

"None of our players, even our experienced ones, have had to win the trophy in Australia," he said.

"In the past the deciding game has always been in New Zealand, so I think it's a great challenge for us."

New Zealand (15-1)

Beauden Barrett; Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke; Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (capt), Shannon Frizell; Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu; Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles, Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papalii, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane.

Australia (15-1)

Dane Haylett-Petty; Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Marika Koroibete; Noah Lolesio, Nic White; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan; Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto; Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami.

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