LIVELY TRIO TO CALL SHOTS
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.