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Marika Koroibete one of four changes to Wallabies for Bledisloe II

By AAP
Marika Koroibete. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled four players to the starting lineup for Saturday’s must-win Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Auckland.

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Marika Koroibete returns to the wing after being dropped last week for disciplinary reasons after a late-night drinking session with teammates Isi Naisarani and Pone Fa’amausili.

The 2019 John Eales Medallist replaces Jordan Petaia, with Matt To’omua adding experience to the midfield at the expense of Len Ikitau, who has been relegated to the bench.

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Matt Philip will partner Darcy Swain in their first test start together in the second row, while Lachlan Swinton’s inclusion at blindside flanker has forced a reshuffle of the loose forwards with Rob Valetini moving to No.8.

Michael Hooper will skipper the side for the 57th time at openside flanker.

The front row remains the same for the third consecutive week, James Slipper the starting loosehead prop alongside hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa with the reliable Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

The young halves pairing of Tate McDermott and Noah Lolesio get another chance to build on their combination, with Hunter Paisami moving to outside centre to partner No 12 To’omua.

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After an impressive Bledisloe Cup debut in last Saturday’s 33-25 series-opening defeat, Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway earns his second start for the Wallabies, in the back three with Koroibete and fullback Tom Banks.

Queensland Reds duo Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Harry Wilson will cover the second and back row from the bench, while Nic White is set for his first appearance for the Wallabies in 2021 after recovering from a knee injury to be the replacement halfback.

The versatile Reece Hodge will again be among the bench options.

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“Eden Park is a place that most teams fear but we’re excited to get another crack after last weekend’s disappointment,” Rennie said.

“To beat New Zealand, you have to win the collisions and be clinical for 80 minutes and we didn’t do that.

“We’ve got a lot more in us and we’ll show that on Saturday night.”

The match doubles as the start of the 2021 Rugby Championship.

Wallabies: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Matt To’omua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Lachlan Swinton, Matt Phillip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper. Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Wilson, Nic White, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge.

– Darren Walton

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Marika Koroibete one of four changes to Wallabies for Bledisloe II

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