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Cooper starts as Rennie names Wallabies team for Pumas

By AAP
Quade-Cooper-Noah-Lolesio-2021-Wallabies

Late-bloomer Jed Holloway will make his Wallabies debut against Argentina after being named at blindside flanker for the opening Rugby Championship Test in Mendoza.

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In other notable selections by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie for the clash on Sunday (AEST), Quade Cooper takes over the No.10 jumper from Noah Lolesio and Tom Wright wins the vacant fullback spot ahead of Jordan Petaia, who will start on the wing.

Cooper missed the recent England series after injuring his calf during the warm-up for the first Test and his call-up provides a spicy sidebar after his international career was all but ended by Michael Cheika, now coach of the Pumas.

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The Australians are well aware they need to front up against a Pumas pack who will be fired up by Cheika, who coached the Wallabies for five years before Rennie.

Waratahs forward Holloway was primed for his first Test cap against England but was ruled out of that series with a calf injury.

But Ren nie is a big fan of the tackle-busting 29-year-old, who is equally at home in the second row.

He made a rugby resurgence this year after being initially dumped by the Waratahs in 2020 after not playing a minute during their Super Rugby AU season.

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Rob Valetini has retained the No.8 jersey from the last England Test, with skipper Michael Hooper completing the backrow.

Folau Fainga’a will run on at hooker with Dave Porecki ruled out of the opening Test in Argentina after suffering a head knock at training.

Lock Darcy Swain, who was red-carded and then suspended for a head-butt in the first England Test in Perth, has been recalled to partner Matt Philip ahead of Giteau’s Law pick Rory Arnold.

There were concerns over Arnold’s fitness after last playing in France six weeks ago and then picking up a calf strain.

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Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau will resume their centre partnership from the UK Spring tour in the absence of Samu Kerevi.

Melb ourne prop Matt Gibbon is also in line for a Test deb ut after being included on a bench that contains six forwards, with Jake Gordon and Reece Hodge the only backs.

Cheika has made nine changes from Argentina team that beat Scotland 34-31 in the third test on July 16.

He has restored scrum half Tomas Cubelli but left out veteran Nicolas Sanchez from the halfback partnership. Captain Julian Montoya returns from a back injury with props Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and Francisco Gomez Kodela also back in the side.

“The team is looking good,” Cheika said.

Wallabies: Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Jed Holloway, Matt Philip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper. Res: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Taniela Tupou, Nick Frost, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge.

Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Santiago Cordero, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli; Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (c), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Res: Agustin Creevy, Thomas Gallo, Joel Sclavi, Santiago Grondona, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Tomas Albornoz, Matias Moroni.

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