Hodgson to skipper Wallabies

Date published: October 30 2014

Western Force back-row Matt Hodgson will captain the Wallabies in Saturday’s clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Western Force back-row Matt Hodgson will captain the Wallabies in Saturday’s clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.

The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, wing Henry Speight and back-row Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.

An extended nine-man bench has also been named for the clash with one player to be omitted following Thursday afternoon’s training session in London.

Cheika recognised Hodgson for his season with the Western Force by selecting him as captain.

“Matt has demonstrated exceptional leadership attributes at the Western Force for a long time now, and he deserves this opportunity being given to him,” he said.

“To captain your country is a huge honour and I’ve got no doubt he’ll step up and provide the team with the right direction and leadership needed against the Barbarians on Saturday.”

Hodgson will lead a back row which includes Force team-mate Ben McCalman at number eight and Scott Higginbotham at blindside flanker.

The starting tight-five for the match consists of hooker Saia Fainga’a and props Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander in the front row, while Sam Carter and James Horwill will pack down as the two locks.

Genia and Cooper will be responsible for sparking a backline which includes Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani in the centres; Rob Horne and Henry Speight on the wings and Israel Folau at full-back.

The match is Australia’s first of their five-game end of year tour, which also includes matches against Wales, France, Ireland and England.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nic White, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Christian Leali’ifano, 24 Joe Tomane.

Date: Saturday, November 1
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Gregory Garner (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet (England)
Assessor: Stephen Leyshon (England)