Timani back for Wallabies

Date published: December 1 2016

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Australia head coach Michael Cheika has recalled Lopeti Timani to the number eight jersey for their fixture against England on Saturday.

Timani has been catapulted back into the starting line-up, shifting David Pocock to blindside flanker, returning to their back-row combination that faced Wales and Scotland.

Kane Douglas starts in the second-row for the fifth time this season, teaming up with Rob Simmons, while Rory Arnold has been left out of the 23.

Allan Alaalatoa has been ruled out of the clash, with Tom Robertson named on the bench as reserve tighthead.

“He’ll (Lopeti) will give us a lot of punch and strength in attack and defence,” said Cheika.

“That extra weight he’s got, his ball carrying and strong defence. It’s going to be a very physical game and he’s fresh now after a couple of weeks off and ready to go. I think we’ll need that extra grunt in there for this game?

“They have a pretty good guy backing up who is new of the scene in (Nathan) Hughes. He’s a pretty sizeable chap himself and a pretty good ball carrier. It’s not in response to what the other team does, it’s what I think we need to win this game.”

Nick Phipps will take over the starting half-back role with Will Genia refused a release from Stade Fran├žais, returning the Wallabies to the halves combination they used in June.

Phipps and fly-half Bernard Foley were heavily, and relatively successfully, targeted back in June but Cheika said it was up to the forward pack to ensure that didn’t happen again.

“I think he’ll be fine,” he said.

“He played well in the Welsh game I thought he’s always done a good job for us.

“Our forwards are very clear that that can’t happen.We need a platform and if Nick Phipps is targeted it’s because of the forwards and not Nick Phipps.

“They go hand in hand and I’m going to be pointing the finger at him for that.”

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Henry Speight

Date: Saturday, December 3
Venue: Twickenham
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

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