Two years after being cut adrift by the Waratahs, journeyman Jed Holloway will fulfil a lifelong dream by making his Wallabies debut against Argentina in Mendoza on Sunday morning (AEST).
Holloway, who was sidelined with a calf injury during the England series, was rewarded for an outstanding comeback season with NSW by being named at blindside flanker.
It is a new role for Holloway, who played lock for the Waratahs this year and has only ever started in the No.6 twice in his 10-year Super Rugby career. He has played plenty in the loose forwards, however, and Rennie’s expectation of needing plenty of muscle against Michael Cheika’s Pumas is also seen with a six-two bench.
Holloway’s selection comes at the expense of Harry Wilson, whose yo-yo Test career has seen him dropped from the 23-man team again.
Holloway won’t be the only northern NSW product to debut in Mendoza, though, with Lismore-raised Rebels prop Matt Gibbon also named on the bench for a likely Test debut. Gibbon was a part-time electrician and club player in Sydney just four years ago, but the strong scrummager has stepped up with Angus Bell and Scott Sio both injured.
Waratah Jed Holloway will make his Test debut on Sunday.Credit:Steven Siewert
As expected, Quade Cooper has returned to the starting five-eighth role after missing the England series with a calf injury. Hunter Paisami has been given the job of replacing Samu Kerevi at No.12, and though it’s not his regular position at Super Rugby level, the Queensland hitman has filled the role nine times for the Wallabies in his 17 Test matches.
Tom Wright has been shifted to fullback for his first start as the Wallabies No.15, replacing Reece Hodge. Wright filled the role well in Brisbane as injury cover for Jordy Petaia, who returns to the side in Mendoza but on the wing.
Tom Wright is tackled during game three at the Sydney Cricket Ground.Credit:Getty Images
Rory Arnold was not selected to return, with Rennie taking a cautious approach given the big lock suffered a minor calf injury in camp last week. Darcy Swain returns from suspension and will partner Matt Philip, with Nick Frost shifting back to the bench.
Folau Fainga’a will start at hooker after Dave Porecki was ruled out with concussion, following a training head knock. Lachie Lonergan comes onto the bench and Billy Pollard has been called up to join the squad as inury cover.
Taniela Tupou has also been named on the bench, with Allan Ala’alatoa starting at tighthead prop. The Brumbies captain missed the second Test against England with a head knock and came off the bench at the SCG.
Jake Gordon has come back onto the bench, replacing Tate McDermott.
Holloway’s selection caps a remarkable year for the 29-year-old, who admitted he contemplated retiring last year before signing a one-year deal to return to the Waratahs. He was outstanding in Super Rugby and was duly awarded the Matt Burke Medal last week, as the club’s MVP.
Wallabies team to play Argentina
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