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The Wallabies team have announced that they will face Argentina in the first game of the 2022 Rugby Championship in Mendoza


Tom Wright was favored over Jordan Petaia at No.15 for the Wallabies Rugby League Test opener against Argentina on Sunday AEST while Dave Rennie pulled off a hitherto unseen move in his previous 23 Tests in charge.

Rennie, bracing for a physical assault from Argentina’s Michael Cheika, opted for the first time as Wallabies coach for a 6-2 bench split, leaving Reece Hodge and Jake Gordon as the only line-up options background to enter the fray.

It seems a dicey move at any time, but given the number of back injuries Australia have suffered already this year – Samu Kerevi the latest casualty earlier this week – Rennie will be walking on a tightrope in Mendoza.

Rennie will hold a press conference at 8:30 a.m. AEST on Friday to discuss his selections.

As reported earlier in the week, Jed Holloway will make his Wallabies debut at No 6 while Melbourne prop Matt Gibbon is set to make his fairy tale debut backing James Slipper.

Gordon was the No.9 bench option behind Nic White for the first two Tests against England, but Tate McDermott, who had a few minutes as a winger when needed during Super Rugby, played in the decision maker.

Wright enters a problematic position for Rennie after spending time there in the Brisbane Test following the concussion suffered by Petaia, who was ruled out of Game 3, where Hodge wore the No.15 shirt. Tom Banks got broken arm in the game against Perth while Andrew Kellaway suffered an injury in training and is still out.

“If this opportunity comes around again, I will definitely grab it with both hands,” Wright said this week when asked about the prospect of being named No. 15.

“I had a chance there thanks to someone else’s misfortune. It will be nice to have Jordie back in the selection mix, and we’ll only be better for it as a team, but the back is something that excites me – you get a few different looks to get the ball in different parts of the field.

Holloway was close to selection and would have played against England had it not been for a calf injury.

The Waratahs flanker will add extra height in the lineup with Darcy Swain returning from suspension, and Matt Philip as locks. Rory Arnold, named as one of three permitted picks overseas, is out after a slight calf strain, with Nick Frost on the bench.

Former Argentina center Marcelo Bosch is the special guest along with Roar pundits Brett McKay and Harry Jones as they preview the Wallabies’ TRC campaign. Listen here or find us on the podcast app of your choice.

Quade Cooper returns after missing the entire England series with a calf strain to guide the team from No 10 with Hunter Paisami, as expected, alongside Len Ikitau at inside centre.

Hodge is well regarded by Rennie for his versatility and can play anywhere from flyhalf to tight.

Gibbon was called up after an impressive performance in Australia’s A games in Fiji and following injuries to Angus Bell and Scott Sio in the England series.

Gibbon attended a Wallabies camp ahead of the 2019 World Cup and subsequently underwent shoulder reconstruction.

The 6-2 bench split means there is no room for Reds stars James O’Connor and Suli Vunivalu, who made their debuts in the dying embers of Cup decider Ella-Mobbs, while that Jock Campbell must also bide his time.

“We had a good week of preparation here in Argentina and we are very motivated to deliver a performance that makes our supporters proud at home in Australia,” Rennie said in an RA statement.

“This is an extremely special occasion for Jed, Matt and their families and it’s up to all of us to make sure it’s a positive memory for their Test debut.

“Argentina will be full of confidence after their home win against Scotland and we know we will have to be at our best to get a good result on Saturday afternoon.”

Meanwhile, Argentine coach Michael Cheika made nine changes to the starting squad which secured a dramatic late win over Scotland to clinch their July series against Scotland.

Six changes among the changes concern the Argentine forwards where Julian Montoya returns as captain after a back injury to replace Agustin Creevy. .

Forwards Thomas Gallo, Joel Sclavi, Guido Petti, Santiago Grondona and Facundo Isa missed out on the starting spots to Manuel Tetaz Chaparro, Francisco Gomez, Matias Alemanno, Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso and Marcos Kremer.

At full-back, Tomas Cubelli replaces Lautaro Bazan Velez, at No.9 Jeronimo de la Fuente is named at 12 for Matias Moroni and Santiago Cordero is named at 14 wing in place of Bautista Delguy.

The Wallabies side will take on Argentina at Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza on Sunday at 5.10am AEST

1. James Slipper (117 tries)

2. Folau Fainga’a (28 events)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (55 tries)

4. Darcy Swain (11 proofs)

5. Matt Philip (23 tries)

6. Jed Holloway*

7. Michael Hooper (c) (121 tries)

8. Rob Valetini (21 tries)

9. Nic White (50 tests)

10. Quade Cooper (75 tries)

11. Marika Koroibete (45 tries)

12. Paisami Hunter (17 events)

13. Len Ikitau (15 tries)

14. Jordan Petaia (18 tries)

15. Tom Wright (12 tries)

Substitutes

16. Lachlan Lonergan (4 events)

17. Matt Gibbon*

18. Taniela Tupou (40 tries)

19. Nick Frost (2 tries)

20. Rob Leota (9 tries)

21. Pete Samu (22 tries)

22. Jake Gordon (12 tries)

23. Reece Hodge (55 tries)

* indicates uncapped

Argentina (1-15): 1 Nahuel T. Chaparro, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 4 Matias Alemanno, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Pablo Matera, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 11 Emiliano Boffelli , 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 13 Matias Orlando, 14 Santiago Cordero, 15 Juan Cruz Mallia.

Reservations: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayvo Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Santiago Grondona, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Moroni.



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