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Wallabies limit changes to just two despite six-day turnaround

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Dave Rennie has named a Wallabies team to face England this Saturday that shows just two changes from the XV that was edged out by Scotland in last Sunday’s Autumn Nations Series match in Edinburgh. James Slipper will start at tighthead after regular starters Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou were ruled out of the Test with concussion symptoms.

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The 112-Test veteran last started in the No3 jersey for Australia back in 2012 but has shown his versatility on both sides of the scrum in recent years for the Brumbies in Super Rugby. Alaalatoa and Tupou’s unavailability has opened the door for London Irish stalwart and former Western Force prop Ollie Hoskins to potentially make a remarkable Test debut from the bench at Twickenham.

Angus Bell, the youngest member in the Wallabies Autumn Nations Series squad, will start for the second time in his career at loosehead with Folau Fainga’a earning his eighth consecutive run-on at hooker. The forward pack remains otherwise unchanged from the one that started against Scotland with Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda the second row. A settled back row trio sees skipper Michael Hooper join Rob Leota and Rob Valetini as the starting loose forwards.

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Finn Russell on fighting water boys, facing the Springboks and expensive watches
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Scrum-half Nic White and fly-half James O’Connor will again steer the ship with youthful duo of Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau to continue building their partnership in the midfield at inside and outside centre respectively. Injury to Jordan Petaia sees Andrew Kellaway move back to the wing with Tom Wright on the opposite edge. The promoted Kurtley Beale has been named at full-back for his 94th Wallabies appearance.

France-based Tolu Latu will make his return to the Wallabies side for the first time since the 2019 World Cup as the finishing hooker, with Tom Robertson set for his third Test of the year as the replacement loosehead prop.

Rennie said: “Playing England at a packed Twickenham is one of the toughest assignments in Test rugby but we’re excited by that. While it’s disappointing for Taniela and Allan who weren’t able to pass their protocols within the six-day turnaround, it’s created an opportunity for Ollie to realise a lifelong dream. He has impressed us with his dedication and diligence to get up to speed quickly and we’re confident he’ll do a good job for us.”

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WALLABIES (vs England, Saturday)
1. Angus Bell (14 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (23 Tests)
3. James Slipper (112 Tests)
4. Rory Arnold (27 Tests)
5. Izack Rodda (32 Tests)
6. Rob Leota (4 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (117 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (16 Tests)
9. Nic White (45 Tests)
10. James O’Connor (59 Tests)
11. Tom Wright (8 Tests)
12. Hunter Paisami (13 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (11 Tests)
14. Andrew Kellaway (11 Tests)
15. Kurtley Beale (93 Tests)
Replacements
16. Tolu Latu (19 Tests)
17. Tom Robertson (26 Tests)
18. Oliver Hoskins*
19. Will Skelton (19 Tests)
20. Pete Samu (17 Tests)
21. Tate McDermott (13 Tests)
22. Noah Lolesio (8 Tests)
23. Izaia Perese (1 Test)
*denotes uncapped

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