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Rennie names two returning veterans in Wallabies team to play Argentina

By AAP

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Sean McMahon’s highly anticipated Test return after four years is likely to be gazumped, with 38-year-old Greg Holmes poised to become the oldest Wallaby to play a Test since WWII.

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The pair have been named on the bench to face Argentina on the Gold Coast in Saturday’s final Rugby Championship round.

Japan-based McMahon, who is chasing his first Wallabies action since 2017, is back in the fray after Rugby Australia loosened its eligibility laws.

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Still just 27, the 26-Test talent could play a significant role with the 2023 World Cup looming.

But his return pales in comparison to evergreen prop Holmes, who last played in 2016 after debuting in 2005.

Back in Super Rugby with the Western Force after four years in England, the former Queensland Reds great was considering a career in coaching.

That was until coach Dave Rennie added him to the Wallabies’ squad when Pone Fa’amausili was injured and fellow front-rower Allan Alaalatoa was preparing to leave camp to be with his pregnant wife.

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Elsewhere, Jordan Petaia will take the rested Marika Koroibete’s place on the wing while flanker Pete Samu will also return to the starting side.

Reece Hodge will start at fullback again, with winger Tom Wright, hooker Lachlan Lonergan and halfback Jake Gordon new additions on the bench.

Locks Darcy Swain push Matt Philip to the bench alongside James O’Connor, who will again provide cover for No.10 Quade Cooper.

The Cbus Super Stadium clash was sold out, but will be reduced to 75 per cent capacity after the latest string of COVID-19 cases in Queensland.

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They’ll also face an Argentina side missing six players who have been locked out of the state after a day-trip across the border to Byron Bay on Wednesday went horribly wrong.

A win would secure Australia their maiden four-game Rugby Championship winning streak and first in general since 2017.

“Pete’s been outstanding for us coming on as a replacement in the past few Tests and has earned his opportunity to show what he’s capable of from the kick off this weekend,” coach Dave Rennie said of Samu.

“Both Greg and Sean have worked extremely hard on the field and around their detail off the field and they’re both super excited to represent their country again on Saturday evening.

“We’ve felt really well supported during all of our Tests in Australia this year and we’re looking to finishing the Rugby Championship with a performance the team and the country can be proud of.”

It will be the last chance to mount a case for game-day selection for Australia’s remaining four Tests this year.

The Wallabies will play Japan in Oita next month before heading to Europe where they’ll meet Scotland, England and Wales.

Wallabies team to play Argentina:

15. Reece Hodge
14. Jordan Petaia
13. Len Ikitau
12. Samu Kerevi
11. Andrew Kellaway
10. Quade Cooper
9. Nic White
8. Rob Valetini
7. Michael Hooper (c)
6. Pete Samu
5. Darcy Swain
4. Izack Rodda
3. Taniela Tupou
2. Folau Fainga’a
1. James Slipper

Reserves: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Sean McMahon, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. James O’Connor, 23. Tom Wright.

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Rennie names two returning veterans in Wallabies team to play Argentina

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