New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named four debutants in his first Wallabies matchday 23 to play New Zealand in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
In what will be the first rugby International since the Six Nations in March, Bledisloe One will also be captain Michael Hooper’s 100th Test, becoming just the 12th Wallaby to reach the milestone.
20-year-old Harry Wilson will cap off a remarkable 2020 when he makes his debut in the number six jersey, emulating fellow Gunnedah backrower and current Rugby Australia President, Tim Gavin.
He’ll be joined in the starting XV by Queensland Reds teammates Hunter Paisami who will make his debut at outside centre with speedster, Filipo Daugunu also earning his first gold jersey on the wing.
The front row sees the 96-Test capped James Slipper at loose head prop alongside hooker Folau Fainga’a, with the powerful Taniela Tupou at tighthead.
After two years in the Test wilderness, Matt Philip will add to his three caps when he takes his place in the second row at Sky Stadium next to the versatile Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.
Joining Wilson in the backrow is centurion-in-waiting and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and the dynamic Pete Samu who returns to the gold jersey for his first Test since 2018.
The halves see regular 2019 Rugby World Cup starter Nic White wearing the number nine jersey, pairing with James O’Connor who will start at flyhalf for Australia for the first time since 2013.
The experienced Matt To’omua will partner first-timer Paisami in the midfield with Daugunu joined by last year’s John Eales Medalist, Marika Koroibete and Tom Banks in the back three.
In the finishers, Rebels rake Jordan Uelese will provide cover at hooker with experienced duo Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio the other front row replacements.
Test centurion Rob Simmons will be called upon as cover in the second row with Rob Valetini in line for his second appearance in the gold jersey and first against New Zealand.
The zippy Jake Gordon is another set to wear the Wallabies jumper for a second time, while the Brumbies Super Rugby AU winning flyhalf Noah Lolesio is poised to make his Test debut from the pine.
Utility back Reece Hodge rounds out the matchday 23.
Qantas Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s a privilege for me to be able to announce the first Australian side of the year and especially to name a number of players who will wear the gold jersey for the first time.”
“I’ve been impressed with how quickly the squad has come together. There’s a good group of men here and the last three weeks has given us a chance to work hard and learn more about each other.
“We need to demonstrate that brotherhood and connection on Sunday.”
Foxtel will showcase every Qantas Wallabies Test in 2020 LIVE with no ad-breaks during play and in 4K Ultra High Definition. All games will also be streamed LIVE and On Demand on Kayo Sports.
All Qantas Wallabies matches will also be screened LIVE and free in HD on TEN and WIN Network and streaming on tenplay.com.au.
Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Sky Stadium, Wellington on Sunday 11 October, 4:00pmNZDT/2:00pm AEDT
1. James Slipper (96 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (12 Tests)
3. Taniela Tupou (19 Tests)
4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (21 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (3 Tests)
6. Harry Wilson*
7. Michael Hooper (c) (99 Tests)
8. Pete Samu (9 Tests)
9. Nic White (31 Tests)
10. James O’Connor (52 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (28 Tests)
12. Matt To’omua (52 Tests)
13. Hunter Paisami*
14. Filipo Daugunu*
15. Tom Banks (6 Tests)
16. Jordan Uelese (9 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (63 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (35 Tests)
19. Rob Simmons (100 Tests)
20. Rob Valetini (1 Test)
21. Jake Gordon (1 Test)
22. Noah Lolesio*
23. Reece Hodge (39 Tests)