Dave Rennie has made three changes to his starting XV. Both props have been replaced with Scott Sio coming in for the injured James Slipper at loosehead, and tighthead Taniela Tupou (who squats 300kg and has the biggest thigh-to-bodymass ratio I have ever seen) pushing Allan Alaalatoa to the bench. In the back row Ned Hanigan will start at blindside flanker in place of the suspended Lachie Swinton.
Like Argentina, the Wallabies are coming off the back of a morale boosting win over the All Blacks, but Rennie was keen to point out during the week that one swallow does not make a summer. “As a group, we know respect is earned daily and understand the importance of backing up our last performance with another quality effort on Saturday night,” he said.
New Zealand’s consecutive defeats have blown the Tri-Nations series wide open with the winner of tonight’s contest leapfrogging the All Blacks to the top of the standings. “The tournament is evenly poised and our fate is in our own hands,” Rennie said. “We saw how much passion Argentina play with in their performance last weekend and we’re excited by the challenge in Newcastle.”
Wallabies: 15-Tom Banks, 14-Tom Wright, 13-Jordan Petaia, 12-Hunter Paisami, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Reece Hodge, 9-Nic White, 8-Harry Wilson, 7-Michael Hooper (c), 6-Ned Hanigan, 5-Matt Philip, 4-Rob Simmons, 3-Taniela Tupou, 2-Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1-Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16-Folau Fainga’a, 17-Angus Bell, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Valetini, 20-Liam Wright, 21-Jake Gordon, 22-Noah Lolesio, 23-Filipo Daugunu.