Herald Sun

LIVELY TRIO TO CALL SHOTS

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THE new-look Wal­la­bies side named for tonight’s Test against South Africa re­flects the team’s new ag­gres­sive and un­pre­dictable iden­tity, backs coach Stephen Larkham says.

Quade Cooper and Will Ge­nia have re­placed NSW Waratahs pair Bernard Fo­ley and Nick Phipps in the halves, and Matt Giteau was yesterday named at in­side cen­tre to com­plete a tan­ta­lis­ing play­mak­ing trio for the Rugby Cham­pi­onship opener at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

In tan­dem with the se­lec­tion of mo­bile, ball­run­ning back-rowers Scott Hig­gin­botham and Michael Hooper, Larkham said it was a sign of things to come from coach Michael Cheika.

“We’ve got our own iden­tity we want to live by,” Larkham said.

“We want to be seen to be un­pre­dictable and I think those guys cer­tainly bring that un­pre­dictabil­ity.”

Giteau, 32, earned a re­call af­ter a four-year ab­sence and Cooper and Ge­nia, both 27, are in the start­ing team to­gether for the first time since Novem­ber 2013.

“With new com­bi­na­tions comes a new level of energy to our team en­vi­ron­ment and Will, Quade and Matthew cer­tainly bring that,” Cheika said. “Matt is a true pro­fes­sional and his im­pact on the team dy­namic has been im­me­di­ate.

“His form in Toulon and work ethic since join­ing the squad has been first class.”

The fourth change to the team that faced Eng­land at Twick­en­ham in the fi­nal Test of last year’s Euro­pean tour is Te­vita Kuridrani, who re­turns at out­side cen­tre along­side Giteau.

Giteau’s French club team­mate Drew Mitchell earns a re­call on the bench.

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