Coach Cheika makes 3 changes to Wallabies starting lineup
Michael Cheika made three changes to his Wallabies starting lineup in a bid to avoid a third straight defeat in an unprecedented test series loss to England, recalling Will Skelton to add some weight to the scrum and Matt Toomua as a second playmaking option at center.
Rob Simmons is also back into the starting XV after missing the second test in Melbourne last Saturday when England won 23-7 to clinch its first ever series win in Australia.
Toomua makes his return after a six-week knee injury layoff to start at inside center in place of Samu Kerevi, who dropped out of the 23-man squad. Skelton is back from a long-term shoulder injury, playing his first test since Australia's run to the World Cup final last year, and will lock the scrum with Simmons.
Sam Carter and Rory Arnold, both starting locks in Melbourne, were cut from the squad but the backrow combination of Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper and Sean McMahon was retained.
"We will continue to play rugby in our attacking style ... with more consistent quality than we have in the first two matches," Cheika said Thursday. "Will Skelton and Matt Toomua are back to full fitness and have worked extremely hard for their opportunity this Saturday."
Cheika selected an extended nine-man bench which includes winger Taqele Naiyaravoro, who could get his first match for the Wallabies since his debut against the United States in a World Cup warmup match in Chicago last year when he scored with his first touch of the ball. One player will be omitted from the bench by match day.
England coach Eddie Jones was expected to announce his team later Thursday.
Australia: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne , Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (captain), James Slipper. Reserves: (one to be omitted): Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Greg Holmes, Adam Coleman, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Nick Frisby, Christian Lealiifano, Taqele Naiyaravoro.