Australia: 50 up for Nic White as Suliasi Vunivalu named on the bench

Dylan Coetzee

Scrum-half Nic White will earn his 50th cap after being named in the Wallabies’ starting line-up for the series decider against England on Saturday.

Promising young fly-half Noah Lolesio maintains his partnership with White at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground whilst Samu Kerevi and Hunter Paisami continue their midfield partnership.

New selections

Rebels utility back Reece Hodge starts at full-back, after being recalled to the squad, alongside the dangerous wings Marika Koroibete and Tom Wright, who make up a balanced looking back three.

Meanwhile, tireless Reds loose forward Harry Wilson gets a start at flanker alongside captain Michael Hooper and Rob Valetini in a dynamic back-row. At the same time, Nick Frost starts his first Test alongside Matt Philip in the second-row.

Loosehead prop James Slipper starts this week alongside Dave Porecki (hooker) and Taniela Tupou (tighthead) in a tweaked front-row for the final Test.

On the bench, coach Dave Rennie has solid front-row replacements in Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell and Allan Alaalatoa to call on, while Rob Leota and Pete Samu make up the remainder of the forwards’ replacements.

Superstar code-hopper Suliasi Vunivalu is named on the bench alongside Len Ikitau and Reds captain Tate McDermott as backline cover.

Good preparation

Rennie shared his excitement to have Wilson and Hodge starting, highlighting that the Wallabies had a good week of preparation.

“Harry and Reece are both super excited to wear the Wallaby gold for the first time this year and have trained extremely well,” he said.

“We know we’re a much better team than how we played in Brisbane and we’ve had a good week of preparation which will allow us to put in a performance that makes Australians proud on Saturday night.

“As a squad we have an opportunity to go to Sydney and lift some silverware in a series decider and that’s something that highly motivates us.”

Australia: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Harry Wilson, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu

Date: Saturday, July 16
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Kick-off: 20:00 local (11:00 BST, 10:00 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Hart (New Zealand)

READ MORE: Courtney Lawes: England captain ready for a break after ‘tough year’


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Planet Rugby previews the series deciding third Test between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground.