Hunter Paisami returns for Wallabies to face Japan

Thu, 21/10/2021, 03:58 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies win 4 in a row in 2021 as they down the Pumas at CBUS stadium

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has confirmed Hunter Paisami will replace the injured Samu Kerevi for Saturday's match against Japan in Oita.

Paisami has not featured for the Wallabies since the Bledisloe Cup, returning to the squad after leaving for the birth of his child.

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He comes in for Kerevi, who failed to overcome an ankle syndesmosis injury suffered during the final round of the Rugby Championship.

“While it’s disappointing for Samu not to be able to play in Japan, Hunter started the first five Tests this year prior to the birth of his daughter and is chomping at the bit for another opportunity," Rennie said in a statement.

Rennie has made three further changes to the starting side that defeated Argentina on the Gold Coast, opting to recall lock Matt Philip to the run-on side.

He partners Izack Rodda in the second-row, with Rebels team-mate Rob Leota coming into the back-row at blindside flanker.

Brumbies winger Tom Wright joins Paisami in the starting backline, with flyhalf Quade Cooper cleared to play after some conjecture surrounding his availability.

On the bench, Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney is in line for his debut, named alongside his club captain Allan Alaalatoa, returning to the matchday squad following the birth of his first child.

“Connal’s strong set piece and all-around game has earned him a chance to represent his country, which is a proud moment for him and his family," Rennie added.

“We’ve got a huge amount of respect for the Brave Blossoms who are now competitive with the best sides in the world.

“We’ll need to be at our best.”

The game will be broadcast exclusively on Stan Sport, the first time the two teams will face off since 2017.

Wallabies team to play Japan Oita Stadium, Japan on Saturday 23 October, 1:45pm JST/3:45pm AEDT

1. James Slipper (110 Tests)

2. Folau Fainga’a (21 Tests)

3. Taniela Tupou (35 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (30 Tests)

5. Matt Philip (19 Tests)

6. Rob Leota (2 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (115 Tests)

8. Rob Valetini (14 Tests)

9. Nic White (43 Tests)

10. Quade Cooper (74 Tests)

11. Andrew Kellaway (9 Tests)

12. Hunter Paisami (11 Tests)

13. Len Ikitau (9 Tests)

14. Tom Wright (6 Tests)

15. Reece Hodge (53 Tests)

Replacements

16. Connal McInerney*

17. Angus Bell (12 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (50 Tests)

19. Darcy Swain (9 Tests)

20. Pete Samu (15 Tests)

21. Tate McDermott (11 Tests)

22. James O’Connor (57 Tests)

23. Jordan Petaia (14 Tests)

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