Wallabies go to great heights against England in 1st test
ACT Brumbies lock Rory Arnold is among three players set to make a test debut for Australia against England on Saturday, joined by Queensland center Samu Kerevi and Western Force utility back Dane Haylett-Petty.
The Australian Rugby Union on Thursday said that at 2.08 meters (6-foot, 8 inches), Arnold will be the tallest player ever to wear a Wallabies jersey, taller than the likes of Dan Vickerman at 2.04 and Will Skelton — a member of the 2015 World Cup squad — and Bill Campbell at 2.03.
Australia coach Michael Cheika selected Arnold in the second row alongside 60-test veteran Rob Simmons. Kerevi will join Tevita Kuridrani in the centers.
Stephen Moore will play his 103rd test when he captains the Wallabies for the 12th time. Former captain James Horwill was included on the bench.
England, which has won only three of 17 tests in Australia, was expected to announce its team later Thursday. England had its worst defeat in test rugby in Brisbane in 1998 when a mostly second-string side was beaten 76-0 by the Wallabies.
The teams will play again on June 18 in Melbourne and June 25 in Sydney.
"We have a good mix of new blood and players who have been connected to the group for some time, and the energy and enjoyment within the group has been excellent," Cheika said. "This team of 2016 has a great opportunity to build on the foundations in place."
Haylett-Petty was rewarded for his strong Super Rugby season at fullback for the Western Force, getting a wing spot in the injury-enforced absence of Joe Tomane and Henry Speight. Queensland scrumhalf Nick Frisby could make his test debut from the bench.
Cheika left Israel Folau at fullback despite Folau's strong form at center for the New South Wales Waratahs. Cheika also retained the mobile backrow combination of No. 8 David Pocock and flankers Michael Hooper and Scott Fardy. Having Pocock playing at the back of the scrum creates room for him and Hooper, both regular opensides, in the starting lineup.
Christian Leali'ifano was considered a leading contender for the inside center role but will start on the bench after only arriving in the camp on Wednesday following the birth of his first child.
Australia: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Greg Holmes, Stephen Moore (captain), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, James Horwill, Dean Mumm, Sean McMahon, Nick Frisby, Christian Leali'ifano.