Dave Rennie looking for faster start for Wallabies in second test
Tupou takes over from Allan Alaalatoa, who drops to the bench, with coach Dave Rennie picking the same game-day 23 for the first time in consecutive Tests since taking charge last year.
It’s a big show of faith in a team that struggled to scratch out a 23-21 win over the undermanned French in the first Test in Brisbane, as they now attempt to clinch the series at AAMI Park.
Tupou had a huge influence with both his scrummaging and ball-running after coming off the bench in the Suncorp Stadium clash.
NSW skipper Jake Gordon retains the starting halfback role despite strong pressure from Queensland’s Tate McDermott who impressed and pulled off the match-turning play in Brisbane when he secured possession before the Wallabies’ after-the-siren penalty goal.
Gordon continues his halves partnership with Brumbies youngster Noha Lolesio, who faced plenty of decision-making pressure from France’s rushing defence in the first Test.
“Taniela (Tupou) made a real impact on both sides of the ball when he came on in at Suncorp Stadium and we’ll be looking for him to do the same from the get go in Melbourne,” said Rennie.
“We’ve worked hard and we’re well conditioned. A lack of accuracy in Brisbane denied us the opportunity to make the most of that, but we showed plenty of character to stay in the fight until the final whistle.
“We need to start fast, be more clinical and turn pressure into points at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.”
Wallabies team: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon, Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (capt), Rob Valetini, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Phillip, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper. Res: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.
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