NSW Waratah and Test centurion Michael Hooper will make his return to the international arena on Saturday, named to start at openside flanker in the Wallabies’ Test against Scotland at BT Murrayfield.
Hooper hasn’t played since the side’s July Test series decider against England and will re-join a backrow that sees club teammate Jed Holloway at blindside flanker and Rob Valetini at number eight.
He’s one of a number of changes to the matchday 23 with Queensland captain Tate McDermott earning his first start of the 2022 campaign at scrumhalf, partnering Bernard Foley who will line-up for his first Test against the Scots since 2017.
Tom Banks is another who returns to the gold jersey in Edinburgh, selected to start at fullback after making a successful return to the field from a broken arm during the Australia A tour of Japan. He will marshal a back three that sees Brumbies flyer Tom Wright on the left edge and the reliable Andrew Kellaway on the right wing.
Reds inside centre Hunter Paisami has been selected to make his return to the Test side where he will reignite his midfield combination with outside centre Len Ikitau who earns his 22nd cap for Australia.
The dynamic Nick Frost is the final change to the starting XV, selected for his second start at international level, partnering ACT Brumbies teammate Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.
James Slipper will captain the side as the loosehead prop in his 124th Test, with Allan Alaalatoa the starting tighthead and Waratahs rake David Porecki named at hooker in his first northern hemisphere International.
The replacement front row sees Folau Fainga’a as the finishing hooker, with Melbourne’s Matt Gibbon in line for his third Test appearance, while powerhouse Taniela Tupou will return to the side via the pine as the finishing tighthead prop.
Waratahs lock Ned Hanigan will play his first Test in over two years as the replacement second-rower, with Pete Samu covering the backrow as he looks to continue a rich vein of form on the field in 2022.
The Brumbies duo of Nic White and Noah Lolesio have been selected as the replacement halves pairing, with Queensland fullback Jock Campbell in line to become Wallaby number 959, named as a potential debutant as the back three cover on Saturday evening.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re rapt for Hoops. He’s been outstanding both on and off the field since re-entering the environment and he can’t wait to pull on the gold jersey again.”
“Likewise for Tate who has been working really hard and deserves his opportunity to start, while Banksy has shown resilience to come back from another serious injury to earn his spot in the team.
“We’ve had a great preparation over the past week or so and we’ll head to Murrayfield excited by the challenge Scotland will pose on Saturday.”
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Wallabies team to play Scotland at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Saturday 29 October, 5:30pm BST/3:30am AEDT
- James Slipper (c) (123 Tests)
- David Porecki (7 Tests)
- Allan Alaalatoa (60 Tests)
- Nick Frost (5 Tests)
- Cadeyrn Neville (3 Tests)
- Jed Holloway (6 Tests)
- Michael Hooper (121 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (27 Tests)
- Tate McDermott (18 Tests)
- Bernard Foley (73 Tests)
- Tom Wright (18 Tests)
- Hunter Paisami (20 Tests)
- Len Ikitau (21 Tests)
- Andrew Kellaway (18 Tests)
- Tom Banks (20 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (33 Tests)
- Matt Gibbon (2 Tests)
- Taniela Tupou (43 Tests)
- Ned Hanigan (25 Tests)
- Pete Samu (28 Tests)
- Nic White (56 Tests)
- Noah Lolesio (14 Tests)
- Jock Campbell* *denotes potential Test debut