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Wallabies confirm Michael Hooper’s replacement for Los Pumas clash

By Finn Morton
Fraser McReight poses during a Wallabies Rugby Championship Headshots Session at Sanctuary Cove on June 26, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Flanker Michael Hooper will miss the Wallabies’ flash with Michael Cheika’s Pumas on Saturday after suffering an injury at training earlier this week.

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As it’s been widely reported, Hooper picked up a calf injury in the leadup to the clash with Argentina in Sydney. Rising star Fraser McReight has replaced the veteran in the No. 7 jersey for the match.

The Wallabies have made five changes to their starting side ahead of their first Test on home soil in 2023. Prop James Slipper will captain the side, and is set to pack down alongside David Porecki and Allan Alaalatoa in the front row.

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After making his Test debut last weekend in Wallaby gold, towering lock Richie Arnold has been handed a start this week. Arnold will combine with La Rochelle enforcer Will Skelton in the second row.

Jed Holloway and Fraser McReight will get their first taste of international rugby this year on the flanks, while Rob Valetini has retained his spot at No. 8.

As for the backline, there are only two changes to the group that faced South Africa.

Nic White and Quade Cooper will link up in the halves once again, while world-class midfielder Samy Kerevi and electric winger Mark Nawaqanitawase come into the run-on side.

“As a squad we’re running a marathon this year, and we didn’t get off the start line like we wanted to, but we get another opportunity to find our rhythm this weekend against a tough Argentinian side,” coach Eddie Jones said in a statement.

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“We have two Tests on home soil this year, so we have to have to roll up our sleeves on Saturday and put in a performance that dries Australians to show pride in the Wallabies.”

The Wallabies take on Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium on Saturday at 7.45 pm AEST.

Wallabies team to take on Argentina

  1. James Slipper (c)
  2. David Porecki
  3. Allan Alaalatoa
  4. Richie Arnold
  5. Will Skelton
  6. Jed Holloway
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. Rob Valetini
  9. Nic White
  10. Quade Cooper
  11. Marika Koroibete
  12. Samu Kerevi
  13. Len Ikitau
  14. Mark Nawaqanitawase
  15. Tom Wright

Replacements:

  1. Jordan Uelese
  2. Angus Bell
  3. Pone Fa’amausili
  4. Matt Philip
  5. Rob Leota
  6. Josh Kemeny
  7. Tate McDermott
  8. Carter Gordon
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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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