Quade Cooper has been reinstated into the Wallabies side that will lineup against the All Blacks. Head coach Michael Cheika has been forced in to a number of changes for the second round match of The Rugby Championship. Injuries have forced his hand in selecting Cooper whilst Scott Fardy also returns to the starting XV.
#BREAKING | Michael Cheika names @QuadeCooper at flyhalf for second #Bledisloe. https://t.co/ebIsieAMXT #NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/DFcT939euD
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 25, 2016
Can Quade Cooper Provide the Spark?
Quade Cooper is certainly a player who divides opinion amongst rugby supporters. He is undeniably a talented fly half but questions still remain over whether he can fully control a match at Test level. He has been preferred in the number 10 jersey to Bernard Foley, who shifts to inside centre for this match. Cooper’s sojourn to the south of France with Toulon did not exactly go to plan as he struggled to really settle into the French Top 14. Against the All Blacks, however, he will be united with his former Reds half back partner, Will Genia. The fate of the Wallabies performance will lay heavily at the feet of those two men.
Centre of Attention
With both the Wallabies and All Blacks having to make major changes to their midfield’s, it will be a case of who’s makeshift partnership can gel the fastest. Foley combines with Samu Kerevi whilst Anton Lienert-Brown and Malakai Fekitoa pair up for the All Blacks. Two untested partnerships will be under massive scrutiny from fans in the second Bledisloe Cup match. Kerevi regains his place in the starting line up for the first time since the second Test against England in June. He will have to make a much bigger impact than he did in that fixture here. Foley survives Cheika’s axe as the Wallabies select two play makers at 10 and 12 when arguably Tevita Kuridrani should have retained his place on form. He is unlucky to miss out.
Backs Selection Irrelevant if Forwards Underperform
Regardless of who is selected in the backs they can achieve nothing against the All Blacks if the forward pack is dominated as it was in Sydney. The Wallabies pack could not contend with the ferocious gain line defence of the All Blacks. They struggled continually to give the backs any momentum. Adam Coleman has earned a place in the second row to claim his first start. He will need to be at his physically dominating best if the Wallabies are to gain any upper hand up front. Fardy’s return will see an extra ball carrier in the mix to try and generate some go forward.
Wallabies Riding the Backlash
This Wallabies side have been under a barrage of media and supporter pressure all week. Last week’s performance against the All Blacks crushed any illusion that this group of players are anywhere near the quality of the current World Number One’s. Stranger things, however, have happened in sport and miracles do happen. The players selected in this squad will be under no illusions as to how difficult the task is that lays before them. Yet, they must come out fighting and believing that they can be the ones to beat the All Blacks.
Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand in The Rugby Championship at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
1. Scott Sio (19 Tests)
2. Stephen Moore – C (106 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (67 Tests)
4. Kane Douglas (24 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (1 Test)
6. Scott Fardy (34 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (55 Tests)
8. David Pocock (57 Tests)
9. Will Genia (67 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (58 Tests)
11. Dane Haylett-Petty (4 Tests)
12. Bernard Foley (31 Tests)
13. Samu Kerevi (2 Tests)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (115 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (42 Tests)
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (65 Tests)
17. James Slipper (78 Tests)
18. Allan Ala’alatoa (1 Test)
19. Will Skelton (15 Tests)
20. Dean Mumm (47 Tests)
21. Nick Phipps (43 Tests)
22. Tevita Kuridrani (35 Tests)
23. Reece Hodge*
Team list sourced from Australian Rugby Union Media Release