Rugby-To'omua to start for Wallabies in second All Blacks test

  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 12 Aug 2021

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has added experienced hand Matt To'omua to his young backline for the second of back-to-back tests against New Zealand which launches the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

To'omua, 31, came off the bench last week as Australia finished strongly with a late flurry of tries in the 33-25 Bledisloe Cup loss and his display has earned him a start at inside centre for the return to Eden Park.

Hunter Paisami moves to outside centre to accommodate him with Len Ikitau dropping to the bench for a match Australia must win to keep alive their hopes of securing the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2003.

That will be easier said than done at a ground where the Wallabies are winless against the All Blacks for 35 years but Rennie was confident of an improved showing.

"Eden Park is a place that most teams fear but we're excited to get another crack after last weekend's disappointment," he said in a statement.

"To beat New Zealand, you have to win the collisions and be clinical for 80 minutes and we didn't do that."

In three other changes to the starting side, Marika Koroibete returns on the left wing after sitting out last week's test for disciplinary reasons, while Lachie Swinton comes in at blindside flanker and Matt Philip is promoted to starting lock.

Rob Valetini moves to number eight to make room for the abrasive Swinton with Harry Wilson dropping to the bench, while lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was also named in the replacements to allow Philip to partner Darcy Swain in the second row.

In the backline, Andrew Kellaway switches to the right wing after scoring a try in his first test start last week.

Experienced loosehead prop Scott Sio and scrumhalf Nic White look set to play their first tests of the year after being named on the bench.

Team: 15-Tom Banks, 14-Andrew Kellaway, 13-Hunter Paisami, 12-Matt To'omua, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Noah Lolesio, 9-Tate McDermott, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Lachie Swinton, 5-Matt Philip, 4-Darcy Swain, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1-James Slipper

Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-Scott Sio, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20-Harry Wilson, 21-Nic White, 22-Len Ikitau, 23-Reece Hodge.

(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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