The Wallaroos and Wallabies have both named their sides for this Saturday’s epic Bledisloe Cup double header at Optus Stadium.
Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to the side that started against Argentina in Brisbane two weeks ago with Allan Alaalatoa taking the reins at tight head prop, Tolu Latu starting at hooker while Nic White gets the nod ahead of Will Genia at half-back.
However, the most notable inclusion to the Wallabies starting XV for Bledisloe I is the addition of former Western Force superstar James O’Connor who has been picked to play at outside centre alongside Samu Kerevi and will make his first test start since the 2013 Rugby Championship.
The Bledisloe in Perth this weekend will mark a fitting return for O’Connor, as his last test start came in Perth in September 2013 when the Wallabies played Argentina at Subiaco Oval.
Melbourne Rebels and former Western Force back-rower Isi Nasiraini has again been picked to start at number eight against the All Blacks this weekend, making this test his third start in a row.
Having shown phenomenal form throughout the 2019 Super Rugby season, Nasirani has cemented the number eight position as his own in the opening games of the Rugby Championship and this weekend’s Bledisloe clash will no doubt act as the biggest test of his character in the test arena.
Former Western Force utility forward Luke Jones has also been added to the Wallabies bench, making this his first test match since the 2014 November tour.
Jones had a short stint with the Force in 2010 after signing a Super Rugby deal with the club while still in High School. Since then Jones has been a valuable member of the Melbourne Rebels, and joined them again this year after a long stint in the French Top 14 with Bordeaux.
Second rower Adam Coleman, a former Western Force forward, will also make his return to test rugby on Saturday after coming off the back of a Super Rugby season that has been blighted by injury.
The Buildcorp Wallaroos and Black Ferns will also take centre stage on Saturday night with the Women’s clash to kick off at 3pm AWST.
The Wallaroos will have a large contingent of RugbyWA representatives in the game on Saturday with four RugbyWA women picked in the 23 to face the Black Ferns at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
Trilleen Pomare will have a huge task ahead of her this weekend as she runs out in the fly-half position, looking to take control of the game early.
Pomare’s Kalamunda teammate Ariana Hira Herangiwill play alongside her at inside centre making it a perfect chemistry at fly-half and inside centre.
Second rower Rebecca Clough and versatile back Mhicca Carter will also be looking to do Western Australia proud as they both start on the bench for the historic test match.
The Wallaroos have never beaten the Black Ferns, but after a successful two test series against Japan last month, they will be feeling confident to topple the world’s best side.
Wallaroos Head Coach Dwayne Nestor was excited at the opportunity to play against the Black Ferns in Perth and had much to say.
“This is a great opportunity for us this week to show off the improvements we have been working hard on since the Japan Series.
“We’ve targeted some keys area of growth that we want to work on, and the squad has responded really well to those challenges.
“Bringing in some new faces in the starting XV freshens us up and is a just reward for the hard work and performances of Georgia, Liz and Evelyn.
“Georgia (Cormick) is a talent to watch and she has approached this opportunity with great excitement and focus.
“Playing in venue like Optus Stadium will be an amazing experience, especially considering the history of the occasion.
“Every time we wear the gold jersey, we are aware of the responsibility it carries and we’re looking forward to another opportunity to play New Zealand.”
Another #partOfMore march will also take place at Optus Stadium with more than 3,000 people from the broader West Australian Rugby community to parade the ground before kick-off.
Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Optus Stadium, Perth on Saturday 10 August, 5.45pm AWST
1. Scott Sio (56 Tests)
2. Tolu Latu (13 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (19 Tests)
5. Rory Arnold (21 Tests)
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests)
8. Isi Naisarani (2 Tests)
9. Nic White (24 Tests)
10. Christian Lealiifano (20 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (21 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (vc) (27 Tests)
13. James O’Connor (45 Tests)
14. Reece Hodge (35 Tests)
15. Kurtley Beale (85 Tests)
16. Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests)
17. James Slipper (88 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (13 Tests)
19. Adam Coleman (31 Tests)
20. Luke Jones (4 Tests)
21. Will Genia (102 Tests)
22. Matt To’omua (44 Tests)
23. Tom Banks (4 Tests)
Buildcorp Wallaroos to face New Zealand
1.Liz Patu, Wests, Queensland Women’s XV, 21 caps
2. Averyl Mitchell, Souths (Brisbane), Queensland Women’s XV, 2 caps
3. Evelyn Horomia, Brothers, NSW Waratahs Women, 5 caps
4. Michaela Leonard, Vikings, Brumbies Women, 2 caps
5. Alisha Hewett, GPS/ADFRU, Queensland Women’s XV, 19 caps
6. Millie Boyle, (vc), Royals (Canberra), Queensland Women’s XV, 10 caps
7. Emily Chancellor, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women, 4 caps
8. Grace Hamilton (c), Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women, 13 caps
9. Georgia Cormick, Power House, Melbourne Rebels Women, 2 caps
10. Trilleen Pomare, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women, 9 caps
11. Lori Cramer, University of Queensland, Queensland Women’s XV, 2 caps
12. Ariana Hira Herangi, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women, 2 caps
13. Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 2 caps
14. Samantha Treherne, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 12 caps
15. Mahalia Murphy, Campbelltown/Maitland, NSW Waratahs Women, 9 caps
16. Ash Marsters, Harlequins, Melbourne Rebels Women, 8 caps
17. Emily Robinson, Warringah, NSW Waratahs Women, 9 caps
18. Christina Sekona, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 1 cap
19. Rebecca Clough, Cottesloe, RugbyWA Women, 22 caps
20. Shannon Mato, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 2 caps
21. Iliseva Batibasaga, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women, 13 caps
22. Arabella McKenzie, Randwick, NSW Waratahs Women, 2 caps
23. Mhicca Carter, Cottesloe, Rugby WA Women, 4 caps