Quade Cooper will make his Wallabies return in the opening Rugby Championship clash playing against for the first time against the Springboks in South Africa since 2013.
The 35-year-old flyhalf, who hasn’t played for the Wallabies since rupturing his achilles tendon in August last year against Argentina, will partner Nic White in the halves when Australia takes on the Springboks in Pretoria on Sunday morning (AEST).
My South African friends is there any good barbers in Joburg? ????❤️
— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) July 4, 2023
In Eddie Jones’s return match in charge of Australia after being appointed in January for a second stint, Brumbies flanker Tom Hooper, 22, will make his debut, while the bench includes three other potential debutants – Reds prop Zane Nonggorr, Rebels playmaker Carter Gordon and 33-year-old France-based lock Richie Arnold.
The bench also includes bustling centre Samu Kerevi, who is set for an international return after suffering a serious knee injury while representing Australia in rugby sevens at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Jones’s side also includes former Melbourne Storm NRL premiership-winning winger Suliasi Vunivalu.
Having fallen out of favour with previous Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, Vunivalu will make just his second Test appearance.
Another former Storm star, 2022 John Eales medallist Marika Koroibete, will be Australia’s other winger.
Len Ikitau and experienced backline utility Reece Hodge will partner up in the centres, with Tom Wright to start at fullback.
The Wallabies, who are co-captained by prop James Slipper and open side flanker Michael Hooper, are chasing their maiden win in Pretoria against the Springboks.
“As a squad, the players have worked extremely hard since coming together as a group and we’ve prepared well this week,” coach Jones said.
“The 23 players selected have an opportunity to be part of history with a win over South Africa in Pretoria.”
Slipper will be joined in the front-row by Waratahs hooker David Porecki and Brumbies tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa.
Locks Nick Frost and Will Skelton will both start a Test in South Africa for the first time.
Wallabies: 15 Tom Wright 14 Suliasi Vunivalu 13 Len Ikitau 12 Reece Hodge 11 Marike Koroibete 10 Quade Cooper 9 Nic White 8 Rob Valetini 7 Michael Hooper (co-capt) 6 Tom Hooper 5 Will Skelton 4 Nick Frost 3 Allan Alaalatoa 2 David Porecki 1 James Slipper (co-capt). Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon, Zane Noggorr, Richie Arnold, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Samu Kerevi, Carter Gordon