Recently injured and out of favour Wallabies will have the opportunity and stage to impress in Australia’s final pre-World Cup hit out against Samoa on Saturday night.
The 23 for the clash at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium contains a large contingent of veterans, some men who have had little playing time this year and half a dozen others, who missed out on the World Cup squad.
The run-on side for Australia’s first World Cup match against Fiji in Sapporo, Japan on September 21, is likely to be very different to the team that starts on Saturday.
Captain for the night David Pocock will have his first international gallop of the year after finally overcoming a calf injury and five other players will get their first run-on Test appearance of 2019.
That contingent comprises of hooker Jordan Uelese, who will get his first ever start after three games off the bench, lock Rob Simmons, No.8 Jack Dempsey, and centres Matt Toomua and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Both Foley and Genia have started just one of the four Tests this year and the former hasn’t made the 23 for the last three matches.
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‘It’s great to see other guys get opportunities who maybe haven’t had as much opportunity as they would have liked this year,” Pocock said.
“That’s something you’ve just got to manage in a World Cup year.
“It comes down to the depth of your whole squad and as senior players that’s really exciting.
“You look at the loose forwards (on our bench) in the game, you’ve got Liam Wright, his second Test, Bobby Valetini with his first, that’s great for Australian rugby.”
While that will add an element of celebration to the night, Pocock stressed the need for Australia to play well and generate momentum heading into the World Cup.
With regular captain Michael Hooper rested, fellow openside flanker Pocock will lead Australia.
Samoa, ranked 16th, ten places below Australia, have a 1-2 record this year, beating Tonga and losing to the United States and Fiji.
‘We’ll be giving them the respect they deserve and really looking to put in a good performance,” Pocock said.
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