Rugby-Front row shuffle for Australia as Hoskins set for debut v England


  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 11 Nov 2021

FILE PHOTO: Britain Rugby Union - Australia Captain's Run - Twickenham Stadium - 2/12/16 Australia's James Slipper during the Captain's Run Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers /File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia prop James Slipper will switch to the tighthead side of the scrum with Oliver Hoskins set to make a remarkable debut off the bench in Saturday’s autumn international clash against England at Twickenham.

With both Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou suffering from concussion symptoms following last weekend’s 15-13 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield, Slipper has been forced to switch sides of the front row. The last time he featured at tighthead in a test was 2012.

Hoskins, who plays in England with London Irish, was only drafted into the squad on Tuesday, but could make a surprise debut off the bench, something he might not have thought was remotely possible at the start of the week.

"While it's disappointing for Taniela and Allan who weren't able to pass their protocols within the six-day turnaround, it's created an opportunity for Ollie to realise a lifelong dream," coach Dave Rennie said in a media release from Rugby Australia.

"He's impressed us with his dedication and diligence to get up to speed quickly and we're confident he'll do a good job for us."

The rest of the starting front-row is prop Angus Bell and hooker Folau Fainga'a, while Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda are the locks, and captain Michael Hooper, Rob Leota and Rob Valetini make up the loose trio.

Kurtley Beale starts at fullback after an injury to Jordan Petaia means Andrew Kellaway will swap the number 15 jersey for his usual position on the wing. Tom Wright is the third member of the back three.

Scrumhalf Nic White and flyhalf James O'Connor are the halfback pairing, with Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau to continue their centre partnership.

France-based hooker Tolu Latu is among the replacements and set for a first test appearance since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

England have won their last seven tests against Australia, including a 40-16 victory in a World Cup quarter-final two years ago. The Wallabies last tasted success at Twickenham in 2015.

"Playing England at a packed Twickenham is one of the toughest assignments in test rugby but we're excited by that," Rennie said.

Team: 15-Kurtley Beale, 14-Andrew Kellaway, 13-Len Ikitau, 12-Hunter Paisami, 11-Tom Wright, 10-James O’Connor, 9-Nic White, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Rob Leota, 5-Izack Rodda, 4-Rory Arnold, 3-James Slipper, 2-Folau Fainga’a, 1-Angus Bell

Replacements: 16-Tolu Latu, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Oliver Hoskins, 19-Will Skelton, 20-Pete Samu, 21-Tate McDermott, 22-Noah Lolesio, 23-Izaia Perese.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis)

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